Friday, May 14, 2010

Pro Bono Economics and Sir Gus O'Donnell

p.s. I love reading body language, apart from books.
This photo is able to explain why I am so fond of Sir GOD ;) Long Live GOD!

I am still spellbound with Brit Invasion. Bear with me, please.

Yesterday, I chanced upon an article by The Guardian UK on 3 people who sighed with relief with the formation of Tory-Lib Dems coalition goverment. One of them is the long-suffering UK Cabinet Secretary, that is my favourite man of the week (and many more to come) - Sir Gus O'Donnell. After much googling (or perhaps ogling him :P ops), I just grow fonder of him.
One captivating article I just have to share with you (hello, anyone out there reading this blog?) is about his involvement with Pro Bono Economics, a charity that aims to broker economists into charitable sector to help on short and medium term assignments, typically addressing questions around measurement, results and impact - simply put: to make economics work for charities! Heaven :) One of the charities, "Through The Gate", has produced positive impacts by cutting re-offending by 40% (saving GBP10 Million taxpayer money by only spending GBP1 Million on this program). This program that offers intensive supports for over 1,500 prison leavers returning to London, helping with the difficult transition from custody to community.

That is something we could do here since so many people in this country need such 'pulls' to go through life. That is something we all should strive for because gone were the times where those clever people running our lives - for once we need people with brilliant mind (not necessarily clever because some are smart not because they are clever but simply due to the fact they ponder through the problems longer and come up with the best ideas and solutions) and deep compassion and integrity (high EQ).

When we have such holistic force at work, we don't need all those B(illion) and T(rillion) to make a difference in so many people's lives! Am I talking nonsense? Well, perhaps you may want to listen to Prof Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the enlightening Grameen Bank, when he thinks, "Here we were talking about economic developments, investing Billions of Dollars in various programs, and I could see it wasn't Billions of Dollar people need right away". He opines we need to create a society that takes care of itself by providing opportunities to its people.

Oh! If you read the article on Sir GOD (as he is famously referred to in Whitehall), he and his team travel in Second Class, hardly by flight, mostly by intercity train. Perhaps, our civil servants should learn from our long forgotten civil servants in UK in the likes of Sir GOD.

And not forgetting, here's some of his quotes I love reading over and over again.

"We have to apply to ourselves the disciplines we imposed on others"

"I believe politicians and civil servants should say sorry more often. I believe in forgiveness. If people say "Look I made a mistake, I'm sorry", I think that should be treated positively. None of us is perfect. We all have things we are good at and bad at"

"People are better policy advisers if they have spent time on the front line, running something"

No comments: