Share

Current government policies won't create Big Society, says New Economics Foundation

Current government policies won't create Big Society, says New Economics Foundation
News

Current government policies won't create Big Society, says New Economics Foundation

Finance | Tania Mason | 29 Jun 2010

A new report from the New Economics Foundation identifies shortcomings in the government’s proposals for implementation of the Big Society.

Ten Big Questions about the Big Society - and ten ways to make the best of it provides an overview of what the government means by the concept and how it hopes to achieve it.

But it also suggests that existing government policies fall short of what is required to do so.

In answer to the question ‘Can everyone participate?’ the nef’s head of social policy Anna Coote said: “The Prime Minister says the Big Society ‘is about enabling and encouraging people to come together to solve their problems’, but there is nothing in the government’s plans to encourage the inclusion of outsiders, to break down barriers created by wealth and privilege, to promote collaboration rather than competition between local organisations, or to prevent those that are already better off and more dominant from flourishing at the expense of others.”

And in response to ‘What is the biggest problem?’, Coote states: “The Big Society idea is strong on empowerment but weak on equality”.  She says the importance of everybody having an equal chance in life to fulfill their potential and contribute to society is hugely important, but the Big Society concept is “weak on equality because it is weak on the structural links between economy and society”.

“If the aim is to tackle poverty and inequality, as the Prime Minister maintains, then success depends on how economic as well as social resources are distributed between groups and communities.”

The nef report suggests ten ways to make the best of the Big Society, including ‘Make social justice the main goal’, ‘Build a broader economy’, ‘Redistribute paid and unpaid time’ and ‘Make it part of a Great Transition’.

Citizens ‘will do more’ if asked properly

Separately, a three-year study carried out by academics at the Universities of Manchester and Southampton suggests it is possible to get citizens to do more to create the Big Society.

The research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Department for Communities and Local Government, tested a range of techniques to persuade people to donate time and money to charities, recycle and participate in online discussions on controversial topics.

The results showed that citizens were willing to change their behaviour and do more to help others, if approached in the right way.  A ‘nudge’ from their local council or volunteer group can often stimulate change.

Using Facebook

Also, Facebook’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg recently met with Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, to discuss how to help build the Big Society using Facebook. 

Facebook’s PR agency refused to reveal details about the meeting and referred enquiries to the government.  The Department for Culture, Media and Sport failed to respond before deadline.

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Virgin Money Giving help raised £88.3m for charity in 2014

6 Mar 2015

Fundraisers using Virgin Money Giving, the not-for-profit online fundraising website of Virgin Money,...

NCVO opposes IoF call to increase the maximum size of society lotteries

5 Mar 2015

NCVO has said that there is not enough evidence available to agree with the Institute of Fundraising’s...

Calls for OSCR investigation into Kiltwalk running costs

5 Mar 2015

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator should open an investigation into Scottish fundraising event...

OSCR opens consultation on new charity guidance

6 Mar 2015

The Scottish charity regulator has announced a full revision of its guidance for Scottish voluntary organisations...

'Genuine risk' of terrorism in charities but problem overstated, says report

5 Mar 2015

There is a "genuine risk" of charities being used for terrorist purposes, but that risk has been exaggerated...

Eleven per cent of Charity Commission inquiries are opened into religious charities

5 Mar 2015

Twenty-three of the 201 statutory inquiries opened into charities in the year to March 2014 focused on...

Daniel Phelan dies, aged 58

13 Feb 2015

Daniel Phelan, owner and editor-in-chief of Civil Society Media, passed away on Wednesday following a...

LinkedIn launches matching service to bring charity volunteering opportunities to 250,000 members

6 Feb 2015

Charities in the UK will be able to advertise volunteer opportunities to 250,000 LinkedIn members who...

Free guide to Bitcoin donations produced for charities

5 Feb 2015

Two Bitcoin organisations have launched a website and free guide to promote the use of the digital currency...

Join the discussion

 Twitter button

@CSFinance