Big Society blogger Gordon Hunter asks whether the Big Society agenda is just too simple to implement.
We don’t need to improve links between infrastructure (cumbersome, self-interested and over-staffed) and grassroots groups (who should learn to help themselves). How best to spend infrastructure bursaries? Elementary: ask grassroots groups what they want and what they get, then fund the gap.
Do we need a fund to encourage streamlining and mergers? No, we can rely on natural selection, whereby the sustainable and fittest survive. It’s quicker and cheaper.
Can local partnerships generate a stronger civil society? Yes, so long as you can demonstrate mutual benefit. In other words, it has to be real partnership with real objectives based on equality of information and transparency of action.
Ockham saw a way to generate Big Society through local action: activate local champions, give them real power (communications tools, funding targets), establish Local Action Trusts that work within real local partnerships, are self-sustaining and make a real difference to local communities.
Is it all too simple?
Gordon Hunter is director of the Lincolnshire Community Foundation