Thomas Bridge 09 December 2013

‘Faltering’ Big Society leaving disadvantaged behind, report claims

‘Faltering’ Big Society leaving disadvantaged behind, report claims image

Big society is missing disadvantaged communities and failing to stem the dominance of ‘mega-corporations’ in public service ownership, a report claims.

Government bias towards the private sector is ‘killing’ the Big Society as charities serving disadvantaged groups are shut out from support and bear the brunt of funding cuts, according to think tank Civil Exchange.

While there has been significant growth in community control of local amenities, the Big Society Audit 2013 claims a ‘virtual monopoly’ of ‘unaccountable mega-corporations’ now control £4bn of government public service contracts. This is despite a Big Society commitment to diversify and make services more accountable.

A radical review of Big Society thinking is required, with disabled people – 8% of the population – bearing 29% of government cuts and half a million people now being dependent on food aid.

Civil Exchange found only one in five people in the most deprived areas feel they can trust others, in comparison to almost three quarters in the most affluent parts of Britain.

Director of Civil Exchange and principal author of the report, Caroline Slocock, said: ‘Millions of people, especially those who might need it most, are being excluded from the Big Society, as cuts hits them hardest and trust in others – the social glue that holds the Big Society together – fails to bind disadvantaged communities.

‘It is government’s bias towards the private sector that is killing the idea of the Big Society, while the charities to which people in need turn are left out in the cold.’

Among a range of recommendations, the think tank said volunteers should be incorporated more heavily into services while Big Society thinking is also turned to businesses operating in the public sector.

Responding to the report, a government spokesperson said: ‘We are determined to ensure as much money as possible goes to the front line and are investing around £470m over the Spending Review period to directly support charities and voluntary groups.

‘We are at the start of ambitious reforms to open up more public sector opportunities to charities with new legislation, financial solutions, and programmes to involve charities in reducing unemployment and rehabilitation.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Occupational Therapist

Essex County Council
£40637 - £49183 per annum
Job summaryWith us, you can achieve more - for yourself as well as those you work to support.We'll give you the tools and resources you need to enabl England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Covid Community Support Worker

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£10.01 - £10.21 per hour
Do you want to help stop the spread of Covid-19 in Kirklees?  Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Senior Legal Officer A/B Contracts and Commercial

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£34,728 - £42,821
We are looking for a motivated lawyer to work on a range of contract, procurement and commercial matters. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Senior Communications Manager

Barnet London Borough Council
£47,841 - £52,886 Per Annum
We’re looking for someone with strong experience of leading on innovative communications to promote... Barnet (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Barnet London Borough Council

Youth Justice Liaison & Diversion Worker

Barnet London Borough Council
£34,884 - £38,883 Per Annum
An exciting career opportunity has arisen for a full time enthusiastic and energetic Youth Justice Liaison & Diversion Worker from... Barnet (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Barnet London Borough Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue