Guest Blog: Charity CEO Reflections in Scotland During Weeks 11 and 12 of Lockdown

This guest blog is brought to you by Julie Hutchison from Aberdeen Standard Capital who summarises the key themes which emerged during ACOSVO's Weeks 11 and 12 CEO Check-In During COVID-19


ACOSVO has been hosting weekly CEO zoom calls since the Covid-19 crisis took hold. The themes from the last two weeks both involved wellbeing and system change, with thought-provoking questions aired.


What gets measured gets managed


From a health perspective, an overview was shared of the kind of key performance indicators ‘pursued with a vigour’. Waiting times, number of treatments and screening programme statistics are all familiar health service measures. Arguably, these are illness-driven metrics. The question was posed – are we hitting the target but missing the point? What happens if we ask a different question – ‘how can people stay well?’ Systems are not currently well set-up to focus on prevention. Money tends to be spent dealing with the consequences and trying to patch things up.


Accelerating change


Covid-19 has accelerated some change that was already slowly underway. So much that was seen as unchangeable or stuck at the barrier of ‘we’ve always done it that way’ has suddenly shifted. Attitudes towards remote working are one example. As we move through the phases ahead to recover and re-build, will the opportunity be taken to build on that progress, or will it be re-wound? With a fork in the road ahead, which path will be taken? In both sessions, there was a mixture of positivity around the possibility of change, and concern about a return to ‘old ways.’


We need to be a symphony, not a cacophony


Looking at the actions and the policy response to Covid-19, a point was made about co-ordination. Examples were shared of place-based local responses which prioritised community wishes and action, with Linwood being one example.


Wellbeing Economy Alliance


Discussions around the concept of a wellbeing economy had this starting point: ‘social justice on a healthy planet’. This brought to mind the alternative way of talking about the charity sector mentioned during an earlier call, as the ‘people and planet sector.’ Some of the ingredients here are present in Scotland (the national performance framework, the variety of social enterprises which exist, work being done on the circular economy and zero waste to mention a few examples). More challenging elements involve diagonal budgeting, viewing budget lines together, which involves doing things differently and measuring outcomes differently. It’s not easy territory, but things which are worth doing rarely are.



Aberdeen Standard Capital is a corporate partner of ACOSVO