A common currency for the social economy

Just the other week, I attended a large impact, measurement and analysis conference. There, I heard speakers referring to the value of good measurement, the importance of stakeholder engagement but none give a convincing argument for return on investment analysis.

At nef consulting, we work on social return on investment (SROI) and other forms of value for money analysis all the time and I have a pretty good idea why no speaker was able to provide that convincing case… a lack of a common currency for valuing social outcomes.

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Cutting Legal Aid: Austerity Measures without Foundation

Next week the House of Commons will consider the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill for a third time. This is almost the last chance for MPs to have their say on the devastating cuts to legal aid contained in the Bill. More

Falling Walls Conference

The Falling Walls Conference takes place on 9 November in Berlin - it is an annual global gathering of forward thinking individuals from 75 countries, aimed at connecting science with industry, media, policy and and culture, as well as inspiring people to break down the barriers we face today on the anniversary of the Berlin Wall's collapse.

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Diary from New York: 2. Youth, justice and the American way

Maria, a broad shouldered girl in her teens, walks nervously from the dock to the witness stand, her expression wavering between surly adult defiance and an uncertain timidity which makes her look younger than her 15 years. Maria has been caught fighting in school. Now she has to answer to a jury of her peers. And these really are her peers: the 11 jurors who ask gently probing questions about the fighting, her grades and her home life are black and latino teenagers from the same deprived New York neighbourhood as Maria, as are the judge and the advocates. More

Audio: James Meadway addresses Occupy London

Occupied Audio/London/TentCityUni/JamesMeadway by More

St Paul’s: Where would Jesus stand?

The disciples looked at the city of tents and Jesus said: “Who are these people?”

And Simon Peter replied: “They are bearing witness to the plight of the poor, because the tax avoiders, speculators and bonus collectors have been given power over them and now threaten the world.”

Jesus measured the distance between the tents and the temple and found it was quite a long way.

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St Paul’s, Luther and Occupy London


"Mony, mony, get money still –
Let virtue follow if it will.”

That was what William Blake said he heard when he listened to the sound of London.

When you listen to the City of London now, with its subsidised banks and their lights blazing all night – the very centre of the global financial engine – you wonder whether there are any other noises at all.  Certainly any spiritual noises.

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The Mother of all CDOs

Another weekend, another last chance Euro summit. As the great and the good of the continent bicker – and Nicolas Sarkozy’s rubbishing of feeble Cameron was a highlight – a rescue plan begins to emerge. The European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), established last year purportedly to provide bailout funding to stricken economies, is to be inflated to monstrous proportions, acquiring new powers to intervene against financial meltdown. More

Why is NHS care of older people so inhuman?

I had to share James Naughtie’s astonishment at the interview replies of the Sandwell NHS Trust chair last week

As if somehow more training and new systems were really an adequate response to the appalling news about care of older people in the NHS.

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The incoherence of government’s growth plans

It is hard not to agree with the chairman of the Treasury select committee, Andrew Tyrie, that the government’s approach to growth is ‘incoherent’.

I am not sure whether he means quite the same as we do when he says that. Certainly it is hard to agree with him that the Big Society and the green agenda are irrelevant to economic recovery – quite the reverse.

But there is clearly an overlap between what he is saying and the new economics.

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