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Cameron's Big Society architect takes Californian sabbatical

Cameron's Big Society architect takes Californian sabbatical
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Cameron's Big Society architect takes Californian sabbatical

Governance | Kirsty Weakley | 5 Mar 2012

Steve Hilton is to take a year-long sabbatical from his role in government to become a visiting scholar at Stanford University in California.

David Cameron’s, strategy director was the architect of the Big Society policy and was known for being a radical thinker. As well as being credited as the main architect of the Big Society he has also proposed privatising the M25.

He will leave in the summer and will not be replaced with his duties being shared among other Downing Street staff.

His wife, Rachel Whetstone, recently became head of communications at Google and is now based in California with the couple’s two children.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said Hilton planned to return following the sabbatical.

She added: “He will join Stanford as a visiting scholar at the university’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), and will also be a visiting fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. He will spend his year on campus teaching, researching and writing, and will focus on innovation in government, public services and communities around the world.

“He will work with a wide range of centres and organisations across the university, including FSI’s Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law and the Europe Centre; the Graduate School of Business' Centre for Social Innovation; the Centre on Philanthropy and Civil Society; and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design.”

In the summer Number 10 was forced to deny rumours that Hilton was planning to quit because he was unhappy about the coalition’s u-turns in areas such as the NHS.

Big Society advisors – who’s left?

There have been several high profile Big Society resignations in recent months.

In May 2011 Lord Nat Wei resigned as Big Society the government’s Big Society tsar and now works with the Community Foundation Network on developing local responses to the Big Society.

Shaun Bailey, one of the two Big Society ambassadors, stepped down last October and MyGeneration, the charity he co-founded, recently closed due to lack of funding.

MP Charlotte Leslie, who was appointed as a Big Society ambassador at the same time as Bailey still holds the role.

 

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