I am pleased to again give this overview of our work and snapshot of some of the key issues at a time of change and challenge in the charitable sector alongside austerity in the delivery of public services. Most importantly, however, I am able to highlight our work with some of Scotland's most troubled young people and our continuing commitment to provide care, support, guidance, education and opportunity to those whose lives have been characterised by disruption and instability.
Building and maintaining good and productive relationships with young people and high standards across our services remain key priorities. The preservation of the daily rhythms and routines of life are of critical importance in our work and can easily be overlooked by the myriad of administrative and compliance functions required in heavily regulated public services. At times of austerity, and where care is now subject to 'models of procurement' careful consideration needs to be given to ensure that the human touch remains paramount. Somewhat ironically, and at a time when there is a greater understanding of the need for service personalisation, pressure is increasing to systemise and commodify residential services.
The fact that Kibble's work continues round the clock and around the calendar bears testament to the commitment, dedication and expertise of staff, volunteers and volunteer directors and trustees. We have no record of Kibble ever having been 'closed' during its 156 years of operation - a remarkable achievement! I would like to give them all my thanks for their work and support over the past year and as we go forward adapting and developing our work with children and young people.
"We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future"
Franklin D Roosevelt
This 'responsive innovation' is clearly demonstrated in the steady evolution of our work. In the past year we have developed some additional fostering services for primary aged children and an educational facility to provide the school support required for this age group. We have developed resources to better understand the impact of our work and Kibble's Outcome Framework is being implemented across the organisation. As part of our research into practice agenda we are continuing to invest in understanding what works, for whom, when and why - and comparing this to national and international studies in our fields of work. Visitors from countries around the world come to look at what we do and how we do it and to consider how replicable this is for their own situation. We benefit from this, as our work is transparent and subject to a much broader based scrutiny than most organisations are subject to.
"Tradition is tending the flame, not worshipping the ashes"
We are strongly committed to providing both a national centre for specialist services and an anchor community organisation that is able to harness its many resources for the local good. We are particularly conscious of our position in Renfrewshire - historical and contemporary. This gives an added dimension to our civic and economic activities and we are keen to ensure that we are indeed and in every sense 'good neighbours'. We believe that our charitable purpose and the preservation and development of the assets 'held in trust' since the 1850s clearly show that society benefits from the work and presence of strong charities. Our trustees and directors are diligent in all their duties and our positive local impact is close to their hearts.
"One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programmes by their intentions rather than their results"
Kibble has consistently re-affirmed in word and deed its commitment to work with young people at risk. In recent years the strong focus on improving the effectiveness of what we do has led to pioneering approaches to service design and delivery. Changing arrangements for how these services are purchased through more centralised procurement mechanisms could lead to a more limited and constrained role for Kibble, simply of contractor to a service specified by a purchasing agency. It is hard to envisage how this could lead to improved services, especially at a time when the Scottish Government is committed to public sector reform and a much greater emphasis on preventative spend. Unimaginative contracting arrangements will maintain the status quo, reward conformity and create individuals and organisations ill-prepared to adopt the creative social innovation required to tackle some of Scottish society's most entrenched problems. Bold procurement on the other hand, can construct new forms of service delivery, achieve wider public benefit and increase social value.
It is both a privilege and a great responsibility to be in the senior leadership position within Kibble. The support of the local and wider community has played a key role in the organisation's ability to adapt and thrive throughout its long and distinguished history. I look forward to the coming year being one of continued development and making a difference in the lives of young people.