National Council for Voluntary Organisations annual general meeting. Sample containing about 5793 words speech recorded in business context

1 recordings

  1. Tape 119701 recorded on 1991-11-22. LocationGreater London: Central London ( Centrepoint ) Activity: meeting

Undivided text

(JNLPSUNK) [1] ... L E A T [spelling] L E A T [] our local Environment Action Teams, initiative proved to be so outstanding.
[2] L E A T was designed to encourage employees and their families to undertake voluntary work to improve the environment.
[3] Employees were awarded sums of money between a hundred pounds and fifteen thousand pounds to tackle projects in partnership with national or local voluntary organisations.
[4] When the scheme was announced the need for individual as well as corporate action was underlined by Tony .
[5] In this area, and others we support, it's the individuals which make a company's role in the community so well received.
[6] Individual contact much more than organisation to organisation is a way barriers between the sectors are broken down, and a way we can understand each other 's motives and ideals.
[7] So these are just some of the ways we're working to empower the voluntary sector as I myself s as I said earlier, this is one of the key focus areas for the nineties.
[8] The other three focus areas, to complete my story, are education, the environment and information technology for people with disabilities.
[9] All of these areas enable us to create long term partnerships with the groups and organisations we're committed to help, and all of them enrich I B M's own long term aims.
[10] For instance by encouraging an active interest in the environment in which we live, and by supporting groups or promoting cleaner technology, less pollution and less waste, we're ensuring the quality of life for future generations, and also the potential for future business opportunities.
[11] And by offering management skills training courses to heads and deputy heads of schools, we're helping schools become more adept at self management.
[12] These initiatives also enable I B M to offer the voluntary sector as an alternative to cash, one of our most valuable assets, our people and their time.
[13] Groups who've got to know I B M over the er, years, will know that one further advantage of our concentration on specific areas for investment, is that we're able to measure degrees of success rather more easily.
[14] Surveys are a way of life with an I B M. as they are in many companies today.
[15] Annual surveys, opinion surveys, satisfaction surveys, meetings assessments, canteen questionnaires, we're obsessed with measurement.
[16] If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.
[17] I B M employees rarely go to a conference, attend a meeting or take part in a course without being asked whether it meant their expectations, whether it was too long, too short, too dull, or ju or just too much.
[18] The reason for this is simple.
[19] How do you know whether anything has been a success, or whether you're doing anything right, unless you ask, and we expect this rationale to follow through into our community investment programme.
[20] We like to see how a project is progressing, find out what use er, what groups makes of our support, discover how a training course helped their staff.
[21] I recognise that the voluntary sector is increasingly being asked to evaluate its work for its funders, and equally we want to know how we, in I B M, measure up to your expectations.
[22] If we're not doing it right, we need to know.
[23] This is one of the reasons we took part in a pilot evaluation scheme, funded by I B M Corporation.
[24] To measure the expectations of the various communities and see what impact we were having through our investment programme.
[25] The pilot was carried out at two of our locations, Greenock in Scotland, where we have a manufacturing and development site, and Bristol.
[26] In both locations about a third of employees were involved in some sort of voluntary activity.
[27] Employees local business people, opinion leaders and the general public were questioned.
[28] The survey found that everyone, expected I B M to be involved in corporate social responsibility programmes, but not everyone knew what our programmes were.
[29] They agreed with our four focus areas, and agreed that our strategy of offering our employees and their skills, rather than just money was the right one.
[30] And these views were very encouraging and will help us plan our programme into the nineties.
[31] We're also taking part in the Rountree Foundation Survey which will ask voluntary sector groups about their experiences with I B M. So we will be able to find out what you really think about us.
[32] Now my remarks so far have concentrated on the relationships between our three sectors.
[33] There's one other point that's important to make about the contribution that companies can make about having their own house in order, and it rather echoes some of the questions which are coming up in a, in a question session.
[34] For instance, I think it's, I think it's rather pointless to be preaching er values outside an organisation, if ones not following those values within the organisation.
[35] For instance, by employing people from minority ethnic groups, by employing disabled people, by following equal opportunity of principles, by providing adequate child-care facilities, the impact on the community, of course , can be, can be quite profound.
[36] Employers with pay policy enables mothers to return to work and pay for quality child-care, can be of great benefit in an area where there's a high proportion of single parent families or families where the mother is the major the breadwinner At a company offers equal opportunity regardless of race, colour or sex, heightens the feeling of self-esteem and potential of individuals within minority groups and this self- esteem can be catching.
[37] By enriching the lives of its employees, a business can have a dramatic follow-on effect within the community.
[38] It was certainly a source of great pride to me in the nineteen sixties to be Personnel Manager of the Greenock plant, in an area which is noted to it's erm, insecurity, to see the effects on the living standards and conditions and morale of the general community of having a manufacturing plant which had stability of labour, as well as it's er, objectives.
[39] I consider that I B M strives to be a good employer and that it's long established belief in respect for the individual has shaped our personal policies to reflect these needs within our community, and for example, our equal opportunity principles prevent us from considering race, colour or sex, when offering someone employment or promotion.
[40] Our support for businesses in the communities, Opportunity Two Thousand, and the setting of targets, which are public targets, confirms our commitment to encourage high level job opportunities for women.
[41] So having looked at the relationship between business and the voluntary sector today, let's take a brief look at the future.
[42] At the time when the income of many of the top charities is said to be either static, or to have fallen, it's essential for public in the private sector, do not forsake their supporting role.
[43] I read only last week, for instance, that the N S P C C is suffering severely from the recession and higher running costs, and I'm sure they're not alone.
[44] The perceived decrease in the public's generosity means that it is even more important for businesses, and I mean all business, not just the larger ones that have traditionally provided the pool of resource, to realise that their businesses would only succeed within a healthy society, and a healthy society means the support of business men and business women.
[45] It's not good just to occasionally buy a flag, or to sponsor some friends mor marathon, one needs more than good intentions.
[46] It was heartening in fact to hear that W H Smith is to celebrate is bi-centenary next year, by providing the Samaritans with a special telephone link line.
[47] Calls will be linked automatically to the first available Samaritan volunteer, whatever part of the country they happen to be in.
[48] That reminds me that it was Margaret Thatcher who said, Nobody would remember the Good Samaritan, if all he had was good intentions.
[49] He had money as well.
[50] Likewise both business and government must have more than good intentions in order to turn the well meaning idealism into practical support, funding and long term dialogue, and the publication of a Charities Bill,in trying to increase public confidence in the sector, is a step in the right direction.
[51] Well, when I was asked to speak to you today, I decided to look at the Oxford Dictionary's definition of Community, which is joint ownership or liability.
[52] This is, I think, what we should all be aiming for in the future.
[53] The public sector, the private sector and the voluntary sector, all have joint ownership of the future health of the community.
[54] Joint ownership of the future prosperity of the community and joint ownership of the future skills ... of the community.
[55] Ladies and gentlemen, it was a privilege to speak to you today.
[56] I hope I've demonstrated that corporate support, individual support, government support, must go hand in hand.
[57] It's not a question of what a company can do for a day centre, or what an environmental group can do for a business, it's a question what we can all do together, for the community.
[58] Thank you very much. [applause]
(JNLPSUNK) [59] Thank you very much, Sir Leonard for that, in th in the beginning of your address you posed the question, what does a company like I B M have to do with a community and then proceeded to answer your question, I think in a most, er, comprehensive way, and I I speak as someone who lives in a county, Hampshire, where I B M has a strong er, base, and I know from personal experience as a volunteer in that county, how much we value the contacts that we have with I B M and the way in which we work together with them in the way that you have described.
[60] Erm, I understand that you are willing to answer questions from the floor for a few minutes.
(JNLPSUNK) [61] Well, I'm delighted to, I feel a bit like the er, that story about the professor and the chauffeur, though, which I must tell.
[62] Which is of course, the er, the professor and the chauffeur are, erm, on their way to the professor's engagement.
[63] Like most professor's, he only gives one lecture.
[64] He gives it very well, and he's on on his way to an evening engagement, and the professor, says I'm feeling very tired tonight, and I don't think I want to give er,th the talk, but I don't know, I I obviously I have to go, the chauffeur said, no problem, he said, all we need is to change hats, I've heard you give that same talk so many times, I would actually give it.
[65] And so er, they changed hats, when they get there, and the chauffeur's introduced a as the professor, goes on the platform, and of course the professor sits at the back of the room with the chauffeur's hat.
[66] Erm, what happens of course, is th that the lecture is brilliantly delivered, er, but, but, what happens is he, the chauffeur finishes two minutes early and the chairman, being excellent as a Chairperson, actually says, we have time for just one question, and er, someone stands up and asks the most dreadful question from the audience, and er, the chauffeur listens to the question, thinks, and th then says, that's questions very easy, very easy indeed, that question is so easy, I'm going to ask my chauffeur who is sitting at the back of the room
(JNLPSUGP) [laugh]
(JNLPSUNK) [67] to answer it.
[68] Now sitting at the back of the room is Sandra, who does much of the work.
[69] Where are you Sandra,
(JNLPSUNK) [laugh]
(JNLPSUNK) [70] have you got your chauffeur's hat on.
(JNLPSUNK) [laugh]
(JNLPSUNK) [71] Over to you.
(JNLPSUNK) [72] I think Sir Leonard, that was a very well rehearsed ploy.
(JNLPSUNK) [73] It was.
(JNLPSUNK) [laugh]
(JNLPSUNK) [74] To occupy two minutes. [laugh]
(JNLPSUNK) [75] But, but, certainly a at the back, please.
(JNLPSUNK) [76] [...] I want to give you some positive feedback, you asked for it, from the National Alliance of Women's Organisations, er, which represents two hundred and six organisations, in, all in all about five million women.
[77] You don't yet give us money, although I hope may, one day you will be persuaded to do so, but you have given us time, and particularly in the person of your colleague Sandra who is here, and her time to us has been enormously valuable and I want to thank you for that.
[78] I also, er, we are also putting in for your community computing scheme, erm, realising that it will not only, if we get it, increase our own expertise and make us more efficient, which heaven knows, all organisations need to be, but will also be ab enable us to give advice to all the organisations we represent, and thus have an enormous ripple effect.
[79] So I want to give you that positive feed-back.
(JNLPSUNK) [80] Please do not take it as an example that you may all leap to your feed to make your bids.
(JNLPSUGP) [laugh]
(JNLPSUNK) [81] No,San Sandra, make a note of that er,
(JNLPSUNK) [laugh]
(JNLPSUNK) [82] that bid will you.
[83] We have to look upon it with interest.
(JNLPSUNK) [84] [laugh] Good, there, you see.
[85] Erm ... sorry.
(JNLPSUNK) [...]
(JNLPSUNK) [86] Gentleman
(JNLPSUNK) [87] energy council, I'm not make a bid, we've just, er we've just heard, what I think is a, is an example of enlightened and model practice, so praise is on the superfluous, but I think we're probably not typical of of the business sector in being so enlightened, and my question is only a wide one, and it is this.
[88] What sort of, erm, pressure or involvement or leadership ought to be given, or wh , yeah, what pressure ought to be put on the business sector, in order that it should sort of, conform ... conform is not a very good word, in order, it's ability to to contribute to the voluntary sector, and engage with it, should not be based upon individual and enlightened examples, such as I B M's, but should pull upwards the rest of the business sector, in other words, should N C V O actually says to the business sector as a whole, look, we think globally this is what you ought to be doing.
[89] It would be impertinent to say that to N C V er, to I B M, but it might be appropriate to say it to some of the less enlightened firms, or, should John be taking a similar line, in other words, how interventionist would you like either government or N C V O speaking on behalf of the vol voluntary sector to be, in pressing the business sector to have an overall and agreed strategy rather than the individual and enlightened strategy you put forward.
(JNLPSUNK) [90] Thank you.
(JNLPSUNK) [91] Well, thank you for the kind remarks.
[92] I think they're perhaps, if anything too generous because er, I will remind you as I said of the, at least three hundred companies who are doing pretty effective work in this area.
[93] They tend to be the larger companies, I have to be fair, er, but er, one of the encouraging things from my point of view, and I, we started rather early, maybe fifteen, twenty years ago has been to see the growth of this particular sector, where people have moved progressively into, I think a much more enlightened posture in the last ten or fifteen years, and B I C, Business in the Community of course, have to take, I think much credit for that.
[94] The leadership of B I C, involvement of the Prince of Wales, and indeed the involvement of the senior executives in their councils, I think has been very helpful.
[95] So er, kind words to us, thank you very much, but there are bodies which are working very effectively to spread the net, er, my view, by the way, is of course erm, I'm a great believer in, er pressures being exercised by every mechanism.
[96] If you want er, the pressures have to be carefully thought out, er, and I think you have to be able to demonstrate that it is, it is self interest, and I think one continues to actually use these words.
[97] Not pure altruism, it is self interest, which, in fact, is your lever.
[98] And you have to use, and I'm sure you do it already, you use the networks which are available to you, you have contacts, you have employees of companies working for you.
[99] You can exercise upwards pressure, er, no ... no organisation can stand alone.
[100] I think the government, and John by the way has been superb to us, in terms of being willing to come along, and help us do the work we're doing, and I'm, I believe the government has a great interest in this field.
[101] Erm, in the same way, your own organisations must produce, I think, good quality pressure mechanisms, including ve very clear objectives, what you're trying to achieve, and how you're trying to achieve it, and the sort of resource you need, the sort of resource you need.
[102] You may well find it easier to obtain people again, particularly with a new climate on employed volunteering, there's no doubt about that, that there is a new attitude where companies are willing to encourage employees to spend their time and to help o to help them give minimum resources, to organise them.
[103] So it's not, it's not a question of any one government, or the voluntary organisations or the companies putting pressure, it's a question of all of them working out mechanisms by which they can persuade more and more people to join this particular movement.
(JNLPSUNK) [104] Erm, could I just follow that on, Sir Leonard, you said earlier, there should be more fora, to bring people together.
(JNLPSUNK) [105] That's right.
(JNLPSUNK) [106] W would you like to just, adding that on to what you've already said, how you think this might be initiated.
(JNLPSUNK) [107] Well, erm, I I give a very small example of that, er, we're very privileged er, in having four distinguished leaders of the voluntary sector, who meet with us every four months, and they, er, we only meet for two two and a half hours, and we talk through what we think we're trying to do, as a company.
[108] They give us their advice on what they know about the voluntary sector, and they give us guidance and help, in fact, the meeting took place er, only two days ago, and absolutely invaluable to be able to sit and listen to people who've spent their life in the voluntary sector working with some of the difficulties we don't appreciate.
[109] So, that's for in a very small way, which is individual companies building up their own relationships, getting together people from the voluntary sector, nationally or locally, and talking through the nature of the problems, and how they can help.
[110] Th there, there's a minu a minute example, erm, in fact it's probably more effective in some ways, than the great fora, forum, in which you have larger assemblies of people who enjoy th the [...] hours, during the course of the day, but often don't go away and do anything.
[111] I mean, I'm a bit cynical about great conferences, they're important if you're trying to set a tone, and they're important if you want the press and the media involved, but actually it's a smaller fora on the local basis, which actually produces much better results, in my opinion, but that's the sort of thing I have in mind.
(JNLPSUNK) [112] Yes, thank you very much, erm, question at the back, please.
(JNLPSUNK) [113] Thank you, Jill Carers [clears throat] sorry, Carers National Association.
[114] I'd like to ask you very specifically about your policy, I B M's policy on carers in the workforce.
[115] [clears throat] It's estimated that one in seven of the part-time workforce has some kind of caring responsibilities, and many of them are attempting to maintain a full-time or at least a part-time job, while carrying those responsibilities.
[116] Thus far there's very little evidence that employers are taking this on board.
[117] Though one of the best thing we can do for carers is enable t them to keep on with part-time work as long as possible.
[118] What is I B M's policy on that?
(JNLPSUNK) [119] Well, erm, the answer there is that, I think we've done a lot of things for carers who are concerned with children.
[120] We have done very little fo for carers who are concerned with aged parents.
[121] And I think that, really is the essence of of your question.
[122] Er, what we have done, of course, is change our whole attitude er over ten or fifteen years, to part-time employment.
[123] Had you asked me that question ten or fifteen years ago, I'd be mildly embarrassed, because I would have said that we took a very rigid attitude, where we insisted that people work full-time.
[124] Er, I can assure you that we have ser , we have several hundred people now, who are working on a part-time basis, because they choose to work part-time, whatever their commitments may be.
[125] So I think we've taken a more enlightened attitude in that sense.
[126] In terms of erm, return to work, er, we also er have been very good, I think, in the sense that we now offer the twenty-five per cent bonus er, after pregnancy, don't get me wrong on that, er, what happens is, people are actually recompensed, given back the money which they've sacrificed because they've been away from work for six months, and they get is back over the next two years.
[127] So we give them a twenty five per cent mark-up, and we reckon that this helps with the whole business of child-care, since we're not ungenerous in the salaries we pay,fo for the start, adding, by adding twenty five per cent of that, we're helping.
[128] The other thing of course, is leave of absence,an and part-time work.
[129] We would actually guarantee that, jobs for numbers of years, so the people can actually take time off and then return, er, we also have arrangements to keep people in touch the business so, I'm very proud of that record.
[130] I then become rather more hesitant, when I have to face up to the problems particularly of er, women looking after elderly parents, because the burden does seem to fall, as you would know, on the women.
[131] And er, although I think we encourage managers to be generous in terms of again part-time working and time off, I think our corporation, and now I go to the United States, has probably taken a more enlightened attitude than we have so far.
[132] What we have done recently, as a point of interest to you, and I'd be interested in, perhaps informal feedback, rather than direct feedback.
[133] We have been running an experiment in our laboratories, which erm, employs about eighteen hundred people, and I've been paying a sum of money, so that they can have anybody with a problem in the laboratories, can have independent counselling, er, and it seems to me, I've been lo reviewing it, measurement again, we've just been running it for a year, and I've been interested to see the types of problem they've been taking outside.
[134] W w we can't identify the people, of course, the the thing is anonymous.
[135] But th , we go get a er, report from the counselling agency on the type of, of er, question that's been posed, and I would expect that that agency would be providing help and guidance, er, along the lines of suggesting and working with the individual on problems of the type, which I'm sure you have at the front of your mind.
[136] But at the moment, I cannot speak with the same feeling of achievement about caring for er, elderly, the elderly relative, whereas I think I can say with conviction we've done quite a lot for those with small children.
(JNLPSUNK) [137] Thank you very much.
[138] Another ... at the back ... Leslie.
(JNLPSUNK) [139] [...] I wonder whether I may ask a question relating to your personal experience rather than I B M per se.
[140] We work in the Health arena, you yourself have had considerable experience, and you referred to the changing roles between public and private agencies, and you mentioned trusts and so on in the health arena, I just wondered whether you'd like to explore with us a little, your own personal thinking about the nature of these changing roles, and perhaps a little bit of crystal ball gazing ahead,
(JNLPSUNK) [laugh]
(JNLPSUNK) [141] as to how you personally, we won't hold it against you, but how you personally might like to see that going.
(JNLPSUNK) [142] Yes, well I was, I was erm, I must put myself in historical context.
[143] Erm, I was with the N H S between nineteen eighty-five and January the thirty-first, nineteen eighty-nine.
[144] Indeed, had you seen Ken white paper statement on television that night, you would see me sitting in the audience, smiling gently at the thought that I was about to leave the N H S. [laugh]
(JNLPSUGP) [laugh]
(JNLPSUNK) [145] My job essentially was to introduce general management, and therefore I er, I was able to use many of the skills which I had acquired in I B M, but of course, I was also part of the Griffiths debate, here I'm talking about Griffiths Two, not Griffiths One, I was implementing Griffiths One, which was general management, Griffiths Two was a community, the community debate, so I saw something, which I'm certainly not allowed to quote, of the great debates that went on over the period of eighteen months before the eventual decision was made about community care.
[146] So it it's quite clear that the government and er, industry, the community, will put enormous burden, inevitably on the voluntary worker in the health sector.
[147] Er, I see no answer to that, other than the fact that they will be a continuing relationship with the voluntary sector, er, and the problem is, how to organise it.
[148] Er, that's one of the, one of the debates about the fora, the forum.
[149] Er, I'm a little bit out of touch, so,i if I sound hesitant [clears throat] it's because I simply don't know how much debate has been taking place, and how, systematised the relationships are going to be in the future.
[150] I mean, quite clearly there is an entirely new relationship developing between government and the voluntary sector, it seems to me, which is a contractual relationship in a sense.
[151] Now I don't know how that will develop.
[152] I do need, er, I do know that that the conflict between government, local government, the voluntary sector and all others who have an interest, can be quite prodigious, and the ways to resource can be also, quite considerable, and the whole thing does need to be debated and sorted out.
[153] Some people might argue at a local level rather than a central level, you're much more likely to get effectiveness at a local level, than of by central dictate.
[154] On the other hand, you do need guidelines to work to.
[155] I'm afraid that's very general.
[156] Er, you may be glad to know, or unhappy to know, that I'm actually still on contact with the health service because I'm a non-executive director of the Royal London Trust, which works of course, in Whitechapel, one of the poorer areas of London, and it's not quite so glamorous as Guys, but actually it's doing quite a good job.
(JNLPSUNK) [157] Thank you very much.
[158] Very last question, because time is running, please.
(JNLPSUNK) [159] Erm, I'd just like to ask Sir Leonard whether the nature of the issues that are dealt with by environmental organisations, erm, indeed arguments such as pays etc. erm, introduces a difference in the nature of the relationship between the private sector and environmental N G Os, particularly when the issues that we promote, such as su the sustainable use of the world resources and the reduction of environmental degradation can have a direct impact on a companies bottom line.
(JNLPSUNK) [160] Well, you see, it's easier for me to sit here, and to pontificate, and therefore your questions were well put, erm, we can demonstrate, I think a much more effective approach to the environment in in our field, because er, we're dealing with chemicals which we have some control over, and which exists to some small degree in air, air machines.
[161] C F Cs, for example, er, we have just one a major prize, I'm pleased to tell you, for eliminating C F Cs at our Greenock plant.
[162] So it's easy for me to sit here and say, we think we're doing a good job on the environment, because we're not threatened, we do have to find ways round existing chemicals, we may have to pay, pay a higher price, but we're not threatened in terms of the the core of our bottom line.
[163] I think companies certainly are interested in creating the right impression, in in fact in creating the right er, environment, and they are willing, of course, to pay a a price, but the argument er, which you put is if you threaten the companies existence, right.
[164] Don't you actually set up attention, and the answer of course, you do.
[165] Er, what companies can do, or should seek to do, is of course, see if they can manage round those tensions as well , but it takes a very long time to do that.
[166] So, I have to say, that er, I believe that companies which erm, find it easy to change, are of course, changing.
[167] Companies which find it more difficult because it's the centre of their existence, erm, are clearly looking at the situation, but will actually take a very long time to move to the position which you, in your particular group would like them to occupy, and I understand that, changing in I C I is rather different from changing at I B M, and er, therefore it takes longer, but I do see a a consciousness, it's the same conscious, you're impatient for change, quite rightly, companies of course, have to keep their employees in an earning capacity, at the same time, er, move towards the position which you would like to them to do, and it may take a long time, but I accept your point, which is with some companies, then in fact, your clearly going to get attention of some kind.
(JNLPSUNK) [168] Thank you very much, Sir Leonard.
[169] Sadly we must bring this, er session to an end.
[170] I do not think, Sir Leonard, that you will need to distribute your I B M questionnaires to calculate the satisfaction level of this session this morning, I think the c rapt attention, the erm, interest and the cl clarity with which you have answered our questions, the ideas I think, which we shall take from your address, some, I might say, to ad to try out on other companies, perhaps, whose record is not as good, I think all of this is of the most enormous value, and as I said at the beginning, I feel very pleased myself, that I live in in a part of the country where we have an I B M presence, and and er, we we value that relationship.
[171] So thank you very much indeed, for coming, for addressing us, and we look forward I think both at national level and as you suggest, at local level with ever more valuable and productive relationships with the private sector, together with the other partners which, er, whom we need, and thank you for leading us along this [...]
(JNLPSUNK) [172] Thank you, thank you for the opportunity. [applause]
(JNLPSUNK) [173] I I must just now, say one or two very brief things before you disa
(JNLPSUNK) [174] Before you do.
(JNLPSUNK) [175] Oh, oh, oh.
(JNLPSUNK) [176] [...] have the floor, [...] realise, I've got a very nice part to undertake.
(JNLPSUNK) [177] Oh dear.
(JNLPSUNK) [178] Would you like to stand up,
(JNLPSUNK) [179] Oh dear.
(JNLPSUNK) [180] 'Cos I've been told, I've got to get you ready for the photographer.
(JNLPSUNK) [181] Oh.
(JNLPSUNK) [182] You don't know anything about this, but Kay has been involved with N C V O for more than ten years, she joined the Executive Committee in nineteen eighty-one, I'm reliably informed, just before I got involved.
(JNLPSUNK) [183] I forget. [laugh]
(JNLPSUNK) [184] [...] and then you were inveigled to the R and D and then you inveigled to become a Vice Chair, and today you've been handling the ceremony so well, we've had to keep you in cotton wool to make sure that er, that you kept your health.
(JNLPSUNK) [laugh]
(JNLPSUNK) [185] And we're very grateful, you've brought rural interest, you've brought much wider interest, and you've brought a great deal of warmth and compassion and interest and time, what more could we say, but to show a token of our appreciation and give you a few flowers to go with that.
(JNLPSUNK) [186] Oh.
(JNLPSUNK) [187] Thank you so much. [applause]
(JNLPSUNK) [188] Oh.
[189] I find this most embarrassing.
[190] Thank you very much, I can only say that I have always felt it a privilege to be part of N C V O. Er, I have enjoyed my time enormously and if I've had any role that I feel that I'm proud of, it's constantly bringing members to mind.
[191] I'm now, I'm not retiring, I'm just going back to being part of a member from my Hampshire Council of Community Service, and I shall be writing, of course, very rude letter, if the services and the communications of letters don't come up to standards.
[192] But thank you all, and I wish you you the members and N C V O itself, every good fortune, and I think we've had such a good day today, and I think Sir Leonard has shown us a really very clear way forward, and I know that the relationships which already exist, and those which will be developed can only be [...] Thank you all very much for your support and help through those years.
[193] [applause] Ar, now I forgot what I was going to say, so I'll have to go back and look at my piece of paper now.
[194] Erm, two o'clock absolutely promptly, please, at your seminar rooms.
[195] The lists are outside and the the venues, and please take the opportunity during the lunch-break to make contact with your, to make contact with your Chair of Electoral Colleges, your Chairs, er, especially those perhaps, who are new members, the Chairs on their name-tag have a red star, and I think you will all know from the resolution this morning, who are the new Chairs, if they, if they have changed.
[196] So please make those contacts, so that you can erm, make arrangements to discuss, obviously things of mutual concern, promptly please, to your seminars, when we will continue some of the discussions we've been having this morning, and thank you all very much indeed. [applause]