The Big Society agenda has been developed by our Conservative - Liberal Democrat Government with the aim of putting more power and opportunity into people's hands.
A cabinet office paper has been produced that summarises the key aspects of Big Society as follows:
1. Give communities more powers
- We will radically reform the planning system to give neighbourhoods far more ability to determine the shape of the places in which their inhabitants live.
- We will introduce new powers to help communities save local facilities and services threatened with closure, and give communities the right to bid to take over local state-run services.
- We will train a new generation of community organisers and support the creation of neighbourhood groups across the UK, especially in the most deprived areas.
2. Encourage people to take an active role in their communities
- We will take a range of measures to encourage volunteering and involvement in social action, including launching a national ‘Big Society Day' and making regular community involvement a key element of civil service staff appraisals.
- We will take a range of measures to encourage charitable giving and philanthropy.
- We will introduce a National Citizen Service. The initial flagship project will provide a programme for 16 year olds to give them a chance to develop the skills needed to be active and responsible citizens, mix with people from different backgrounds, and start getting involved in their communities.
3. Transfer power from central to local government
- We will promote the radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government, including a full review of local government finance.
- We will give councils a general power of competence.
- We will abolish Regional Spatial Strategies and return decision-making powers on housing and planning to local councils.
4. Support co-ops, mutuals, charities and social enterprises
- We will support the creation and expansion of mutuals, co-operatives, charities and social enterprises, and support these groups to have much greater involvement in the running of public services.
- We will give public sector workers a new right to form employee-owned co-operatives and bid to take over the services they deliver. This will empower millions of public sector workers to become their own boss and help them to deliver better services.
- We will use funds from dormant bank accounts to establish a Big Society Bank, which will provide new finance for neighbourhood groups, charities, social enterprises and other nongovernmental bodies.
5. Publish government data
- We will create a new ‘right to data' so that government-held datasets can be requested and used by the public, and then published on a regular basis.
- We will oblige the police to publish detailed local crime data statistics every month, so the public can get proper information about crime in their neighbourhoods and hold the police to account for their performance.
BIG SOCIETY LINKS
To follow some of the latest articles on the Big Society, you may find the following websites useful;
The latest publication from the Consultation Institute succinctly discusses "The Big Society and Budget Reductions". If you would like to read the complete report, select the following link "The Big Society and Budget Reductions".
BIG SOCIETY NEWS
National Citizens Service details now on Facebook!
The government is starting to promote 12 National Citizenship Service programmes throughout the country. To find out more please select this link to their facebook page.
Big Society audit
Findings of the first independent audit exploring the implementation of the Governments Big Society initiative are now available. The audit has been produced by think tank Civil Exchange, with research and communications support from Democratic Audit and DHA, backed by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK.
Findings indicate a ‘Big Society gap' between different groups and highlights that Government failure to get ‘buy in' from others to the Big Society is a major potential obstacle to bridging that gap, the Audit finds, and the Government needs to work more closely with the voluntary sector, providing the right support, especially in deprived areas which are being particularly hit by Government cuts. A summary of the key findings as well as the full audit can be found here
BIG SOCIETY CONFERENCE October 2010
"The Big Society - All in it together" conference was hosted by both Coventry and Warwickshire Third Sector Assemblies. The underlying theme of this conference was volunteering and how the Third Sector can facilitate delivery of the Government's Big Society agenda.
The Third Sector is working within a challenging economic and political climate, where they are charged with encouraging volunteering and involvement in social action. The aims of this conference were three-fold:
- to explore the Big Society Agenda and how we can deliver it
- to recognise the contribution of the Third Sector and volunteers in the sub region
- to bring strategic thinkers and decision makers together to develop relationships and understanding
Rather than try to capture a verbatim record of the Big Society - we have compiled a short overview of the key messages from the day. To view this, please select the We're all in it together link.