Big Society policy
The Government wants to give citizens, communities and local government the power and information they need to come together, solve the problems they face and build the Britain they want. They emphasise that Building this Big Society isn't just the responsibility of just one or two Government departments but of every Department and of every citizen too.
Some broad policies to help take forward the Big Society framework have already been agreed by the Coalition as the first strand of a comprehensive programme for the Government. These are the following:
Giving communities more powers
- To radically reform the planning system to give neighbourhoods far more ability to determine the shape of the places in which their inhabitants live
- To 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
- To train a new generation of community organisers and support the creation of neighbourhood groups across the UK, especially in the most deprived areas
Encouraging people to take an active role in their communities
- To 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
- To take a range of measures to encourage charitable giving and philanthropy
- To 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.
Transferring power from central to local government
- To promote the radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government, including a full review of local government finance
- To give councils a general power of competence
- To abolish Regional Spatial Strategies and return decision-making powers on housing and planning to local councils.
Supporting co-ops, mutuals, charities and social enterprises
- To 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
- To 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
- To 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
Publish government data
- To 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
- To 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.
9 November 2010