Our Society

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The House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee has launched an inquiry into the Big Society. This is an opportunity for us to collectively contribute our views, based on the principles expressed in the 'Our Purpose' page and our own experiences. A paper issued by the committee is attached.

 

We have a week to put together a response of up to 3000 words. The key questions being asked by the select committee are below; I think we should have something to say particularly on questions 1-3 and 7 and 8, but people may also like to suggest responses to other aspects of the inquiry. Please keep in mind that on average we only have about 300 words for responses to each question!

 

Please reply initially via this thread; we'll then put up a draft on Google docs or similar to fine tune the submission.

 

The Committee would like to receive written evidence on the following issues in particular:

1. A definition of what the ‘Big Society’ is or should be.

2. The impact and consequences of reductions in public expenditure on the Government’s ambitions to deliver its vision for the Big Society.

3. The role of and capacity for the voluntary and community sector to deliver local public services including the appropriateness of using charitable income or volunteer labour to subsidise costs.

4. Possible problems and challenges from increased commissioning of public service provision from the voluntary and community sector as envisaged by the Government.

5. The right to form employee-owned public service co-operatives including the resources available to co-operatives, proposed powers, and rules governing their operation.

6. Governance and accountability issues arising out of different organisational forms of social enterprises and co-operatives; and the participation of voluntary sector and community groups in greater public service provision.

7. The implications for central government and for the civil service of policies which require them to promote and to enable, rather than to manage and to direct, public services.

8. The place of local authorities in the transfer of power from Whitehall to communities and the role democratically elected local councillors should play.

9. Potential conflicts with other aspects of public service delivery, such as individual focus of personalised public services or universal provision and uniform standards of public services (i.e. avoiding postcode lotteries).

 

Tags: Government, Our Society, crowdsourcing, inquiry

Views: 39

Attachments:

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Dear Julian/all,

 

please find attached the submission to the BigSoc inquiry submitted by my part-time, distance learning, practitioner-students (from community development & local councils & me!)

 

James

Attachments:
Many thanks, James - much appreciated.

James Derounian said:

Dear Julian/all,

 

please find attached the submission to the BigSoc inquiry submitted by my part-time, distance learning, practitioner-students (from community development & local councils & me!)

 

James

Hi all - please find attached our draft response from NAAPS and see the comments in my blog on this site: http://oursociety.org.uk/profiles/blogs/dont-let-personalisation-go... 

Alex

Attachments:

 

1) Charity law does not sit well with people and communities wishing to get things done. To do that you need financial and other resources.

So long as charity law does not permit social investment, billions sits in the stock market, and not in social enterprises.

UK government must legislate for CC14 and enable charities to be more flexible

 

2) EU procurement law prevents SMEs and social enterprises from winning contracts. EU procurement law is inherently anti-competitive and favours large companies. Communities wither because Brussels directives mean muti-nationals win government procurement.

For as long as the UK government slavishly follows EU law, we will watch as society suffers. Community clauses, equality clauses, worklessness clauses and every other means possible should be found to protect Margate, Falmouth, Tenby, Cockermouth, Gateshead and Lowestoft business and social enterprise.

Councillors must battle for their local communities and ensure spend is localised.

 

3) UK government departments should be innovating and localising spend. Total Place should be widened in scope, and more experiments made with co-design, citizen input to services and person-centred services.

MindLab in Denmark do this ; Social Innovation Lab in Kent ; let's grow the early adopters

Alex - not disagreeing with you, but think we need to harness (& be more more alert to) 'help-in-kind' contributions of local builders (building at cost), resident solicitor helping with legal issues of a community venture, use of school property for meetings etc.....

 

Community projects are not just about cash. But equally Government/other funding should - as a MATTER OF COURSE - give community/individuals' time inputs a cash value to count against or match grant aid.

Thanks for the contributions so far - keep them coming! I hope to put some first thoughts together over the weekend.

Hi Julian

I think it cannot be over-stated that there is a lack of credibility with regard to leaning on voluntary action, when voluntary organizations are taking the biggest hit - and closing down in many cases, as a result of the public sector decimation of services and loss of funding.  Certain prominent advocates of the Big Society need to Get Real on their expectation to see growth in this sector when the outcome of current policies is shrinkage - and volunteers are turned away in huge numbers. Is this something being addressed in replies to the Select Committee enquiry?   

Thank you for giving me a HEADS UP on this one. It seems to me as an observer from Tasmania Australia that some talk..." is about big or is it bigger."

Those who take the lead in social life, a body of persons united for the common good..society not such an easy thing to be put into a tick BOX... if it is a big box or a bigger box.

From where I'm looking a 'DORMENT BANK ACCOUNT' in this day and age is bigger than big it is HUGE.

In Tasmania our Local Government Act requires each municiplity to produce a 5 year Action plan the model (pattern) is there to be used. This year ours was about coming up with the needs, those that our rate payers could pay for People/Place. Each patch has an elected Mayor for 2 years to help take a leardership role in delivery.

mm  migloo/MaNiA

Hello everyone

 

We now have a draft response to the PASC inquiry here: https://docs.google.com/docume...

 

Sorry this has taken so long but it's been difficult to find the time (this may be a common theme of big society). If you get a chance, could you please read and comment by 2pm? I'll then sort out a final draft and circulate it.

 

I've also attached the file here for anyone who doesn't like Google docs.

Attachments:

The Googledocs link is incomplete so doesn't work.


Sorry time is really short for this and one has to work!  I suggest the opening should be punchy and make the basic points. I believe in a stronger stand for local democracy and against the involvement of profit-making consultancies.  But this is a hasty thought, pardon me.


julian dobson said:

Hello everyone

 

We now have a draft response to the PASC inquiry here: https://docs.google.com/docume...

 

Sorry this has taken so long but it's been difficult to find the time (this may be a common theme of big society). If you get a chance, could you please read and comment by 2pm? I'll then sort out a final draft and circulate it.

 

I've also attached the file here for anyone who doesn't like Google docs.

Sorry Alan - try this: 

Alan McDonald said:

The Googledocs link is incomplete so doesn't work.


Sorry time is really short for this and one has to work!  I suggest the opening should be punchy and make the basic points. I believe in a stronger stand for local democracy and against the involvement of profit-making consultancies.  But this is a hasty thought, pardon me.


julian dobson said:

Hello everyone

 

We now have a draft response to the PASC inquiry here: https://docs.google.com/docume...

 

Sorry this has taken so long but it's been difficult to find the time (this may be a common theme of big society). If you get a chance, could you please read and comment by 2pm? I'll then sort out a final draft and circulate it.

 

I've also attached the file here for anyone who doesn't like Google docs.

Hi Julian, looks an excellent summary of what's come forward so far to me.

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