When I first submitted this blog to Jenny, she read it and then sidled up to me and said, “I see your point but could you not start the year with a little more optimism!?’
Hmm…. luckily I was due to see Fascinating Aida, an irreverent trio of singing women willing to have a go at anything from getting old to boomerang children, politicians and royals to cosmetic surgery and reality TV. Last year, the group made my evening with their Ofsted Song, and this year they lambasted adult’s mad anxiety about health and safety with their HSE song!
They also reassured me that I was not alone in my delight at getting a fleecy onesie and a wraparound hot water bottle for Christmas. Great on comfort but rock bottom on sartorial elegance, not really in keeping with the skimpy or often lack of clothing of the females in another of my Christmas presents; the box set of the Game of Thrones . So with, their good humour and brazenness ringing in my ears I will try and be more upbeat!
Over Christmas, when I need a break from cooking, eating or entertaining, I often spend time trawling through my word documents. Every year, I forget how this upsets me because I find notes, reports and minutes of meetings, roundtables from years ago identifying the problems, with very often the solutions to problems that continue to be unresolved. I list a few (to keep Jenny happy… I have removed at least three! ) So pour yourself a cup of tea (as I suspect several of you are doing Dry January no doubt!):
- The cost of affordable childcare
- High rents
- Competition from schools taking children with no notice
- Increase in child poverty
Oh its heady reading!
What intrigued me though was the solution. There was a raft of information, comments and articles which suggested that the solutions could only be achieved if we joined together and used the power of collaboration to argue for a set of outcomes that would result in collective impact
This is surely what we need to do this year. We are facing a depressing red, yellow, blue, green and purple election campaign. We cannot rely on factional politicians to resolve the problems but we can get better at holding them to account. We need to share a story with the public that makes them understand that the future of our children should not be mired by the two party policy machine. It’s time to travel back to a time before the party political system (yes its true, there was a long time in politics before the two party system dominated) when decisions were made by an alliance of individuals and groups who agreed solutions to problems for the good of the nation. We can create what Malcolm Gladwell calls the Tipping point when social change comes from a build-up of small changes:
“We need to prepare ourselves for the possibility that sometimes big changes follow from small events and that sometimes these changes can happen very quickly.
This possibility of sudden change is at the centre of the ideal of the Tipping Point and might well be the hardest of all to accept… The Tipping Point is the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point. (pg 159)”
So, let’s force their hand and resolve the issues of childcare and education by working together and sharing a story with the public which enlightens them as to why childcare is worth funding properly. To do this we need a common agenda based on a shared vision for change, based on a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solve it through agreed mutually reinforced actions, measures and reports. This means getting each organisation or individual to undertake a specific set of activities at which it excels in a way that supports the vision and creates the data that provided the collective impact.
We can do this, we did it through the OBC so we can learn from this and do it again and therefore help reshape the political space by creating a powerful collaboration that results in a collective impact for children.
If you are interested get in touch….
*This blog has been approved as being more cheerful and upbeat by Jenny!*