Big Society

Big Society not Big GovernmentRenewing civic life and putting citizens at the heart of public services has been a key goal of public policy for a number of years, but the coalition Government’s vision for a 'Big Society' has placed localism at the heart of its programme of government.

The future of local government is being shaped by two forces:

  • a drive towards localism
  • the need to cut spending and achieve efficiencies

From Big Government to Big Society

The Localism Act 2011 sets the foundations for the Big Society programme, by introducing new rights and powers for local communities and reforms to the planning system.

Big Society focuses on three areas

  • Reforming public services;
  • Empowering communities to come together to address local issues.
  • Bringing about a lasting culture change to support the work of neighbourhood groups, charities and social enterprises.

The Big Society cuts across a number of government departments and represents a fundamental shift in local service delivery and the relationship between people, places and power.

What does a Big Society looks like?

The Big Society is a society with much higher levels of personal, professional, civic and corporate responsibility. A society where people come together to solve problems and improve life for themselves and their communities. A society where the leading force for progress is social responsibility, not state control."

Building the Big Society

The main themes underpinning the ‘Big Society’ are:

  • Giving communities more power
  • Empowering state, rather than an overpowering state
  • Encouraging people to take an active role in their communities
  • Transferring power from central to local government
  • Supporting the voluntary and community sector
  • Decentralising to the lowest possible level
  • Publishing government data

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