Big Society/Localsim

Big Society / Localism

The needs of small voluntary and community organisations in a big society era.

Source: Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)

This report examines the ways in which small voluntary and community sector organisations utilise and receive funding, and recommends steps to ensure that the ‘big society' agenda neither passes these organisations by, nor squeezes them out of their vital community functions. As the government rolls out its programme for the ‘big society' and interest turns towards the balance of responsibility between the state and society, small voluntary and community organisations have a particularly crucial role to play. However, due to their size they lack voice in national and voluntary sector debates. The report highlights the need for more flexible approaches to funding to help sustain these organisations. It recommends:
Intelligent grants: Local authorities should think more creatively about how they can use and target their grants to small voluntary and community organisations to support them at key turning points, and they should consider bolstering endowment funds.

• Access to microfinance: microfinance products should be designed specifically for VCS organisations, and if the government should consider allocating capital through Big Society Capital to ensure that it meets its targets for 25 per cent of contracts to be delivered by small organisations.

• Supporting organisations at key turning points: Support organisations should promote awareness of microfinance and funding opportunities available to small organisations in their area, with funding from central government.

• Intelligent commissioning: The government should act upon the recommendations of the Mutuals Taskforce. In addition, an awareness-raising campaign is essential to the success of the Social Value Act 2012

Visit the website to download the report:

Localism legislation could mean voluntary groups being used as 'bid candy'

Neil Cleeveley, director of policy and communications, says councils can avert such problems by intelligent commissioning. The government's localism legislation could lead to voluntary groups being used as "bid candy" by national organisations, according to a report out today. In the report Localism: Threat or Opportunity, which has been produced by the Trades Union congress and includes essays from a range of voluntary sector organisations, the umbrella body Navca warns that national organisations might encourage local groups to use the Community Right to Challenge to force a council to put a service out to tender. In the report, Neil Cleeveley, director of policy and communications at Navca, writes: "There are real fears that, just as many private contractors bidding for Work Programme contracts appeared to use local voluntary organisations as ‘bid candy', so we will see ‘Trojan horse' challenges fronted by ‘local groups' set up specifically for the purpose by national players, or genuine local groups facing financial pressures lured into mounting a challenge with promises of easy money."

Read more or download the report from Third Sector at:

The Big Society Social Audit

The Civil Exchange has published the first social audit of the Government's Big Society. The Audit looks beyond the sometimes heated political debate to discover what is happening in practice, capturing wherever possible the impact on different communities and groups.

Visit the Civil Society website to find out more:

Big Society Report

The Public Administration Select Committee has published The Big Society: Further Report with the Government Response to the Committee's Seventeenth Report of Session 2010-12. The report repeats previous recommendations and expresses disappointment that the Government rejected their proposals to appoint a single 'Big Society Minister' and produce a comprehensive and coherent change programme to co-ordinate Big Society policies across Government.

Download the report from: (If this link does not work, copy and paste into the web address instead of Control and Click)

Big Society

The House of Commons has published a report on Big Society. The main point the report makes is that if the government Big Society ambitions are to be successful, then the government must act in support of 'little society'. That is commissioning policies need to help local organisations not just the big nationals.

You can view the report at:

If you don't have time to read the full report you can read a press release at:  

The Red Book: impact of UK government spending decisions on children, young people and families 2010/11

David Cameron's Coalition Government has made a commitment to support the lives of the most vulnerable, since coming into office in 2010. One year on, we have published the Action for Children Red Book, which looks at the impact of the coalition Government's decisions based on what is happening in our services and what the children, young people and families we work with tell us. Its findings indicate that there are more children in need of support, cuts to the budgets of vital services means that increasingly this need cannot be met and on current trends this will only get worse. The report concludes that for the most vulnerable and excluded children and young people the impact of economic decisions could persist across generations and it emphasises the critical importance of early intervention services.

 Download the report from:

Children and the Big Society

Children and their families are at risk of being overlooked by the government's Big Society and localism agenda, according to a new report which was commissioned by Action for Children. The report highlights the progress made over the last 2 decades on family policy, but says too little has been done to put children at the centre of the vision for communities. It argues that developing trusted relationships and networks for children and young people is fundamental to their development, wellbeing and safety. Social capital for children and young people can keep children safe, transform neighbourhoods, break intergenerational cycles of neglect and deprivation and prevent problems escalating.

Voices on making a society where people don't feel small

This is not really a report but would make interesting reading. Twenty two "thought leaders in community enterprise and development", practitioners and academics, have contributed chapters to 'The Big Society Challenge', exploring how the rhetoric for a "society where people don't feel small" can become a reality.

You can read the Development Trusts Association press release at

or download direct from Keystone Development Trust

How Fair is Britain

A report released on 11th October by the Commission paints a picture of a largely tolerant and open-minded society, in which some equality gaps have closed over the past generation.
But How Fair is Britain', the most comprehensive compilation of evidence on discrimination and disadvantage ever compiled in Britain, also shows that other long-standing inequalities remain undiminished; and that new social and economic fault-lines are emerging as Britain becomes older and more ethnically and religiously diverse. The Review also identifies recession, public service reform, management of migration and technological change as major risk factors in progress towards a fairer society. The Commission's findings cover all seven areas of formal discrimination set out in law: age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation and transgender status. For the first time, it analyses the gaps in treatment and achievement of these seven social groupings beyond solely economic outcomes - by including factors such as personal autonomy and political influence (‘voice') alongside education, health, standard of living and personal safety.

Read more at:

Building a stronger civil society: a strategy for voluntary and community sector groups, charities and enterprises

A publication from the Cabinet Office, this report is the first step towards helping civil society organisations with the new opportunities that will arise from the devolution of power to local communities. It helps them to understand the reform of public services that underpins the Big Society. Included in the strategy are the reduction of red tape for small organisations; local communities will have the right to buy or bid to run community assets; modernising public service commissioning so that the most efficient and effective charities can have a fair chance to bid for public contracts; giving public sector staff the right to spin-out and form co-ops or mutuals supported by a new network of advice and mentoring; and continuing to match fund local endowments to encourage giving.