I've just suggested to Norwich City Council that they put the rule book to one side and respond to an emergency. There are 300 of their former workers who transferred out under TUPE and found themselves out of work when Connaught (to whom they had TUPE transferred again) went bust.
My suggestion, that the workers form a cooperative and contract with the Council was met with some enthusiasm. But the rules say it can't be done like that I was told. It reminds me of the case recently where a child drowned because the first emergency worker on the scene did not have the right training to wade into a pond to save the child.
Sure breaking rules always carries risk, but at what point to you lay the rule book to one side to deal compassionately and quickly with an emergency. Many of the 300 workers were employed for decades by the Council before all this contracting nonsense took them into the private sector. They are vulnerable people, being pushed around and now punished by a system over which they have no control.
To me, 'Big Society' is all about putting people first. Here's a great opportunity for a city to work together to do what's right for the people. The people who now find themselves out of work; the people whose Council owned homes need repairs and the people who together make Norwich one of the world's nicest cities.
I've even found a man with the perfect combination of skills and experience to make it happen. I've made the introduction and now need to sit back and see what happens. I hope everyone rises to the challenge!