The third (and final) of Civil Exchange’s annual Big Society Audits finds that the Big Society project to hand power back to the people has largely failed against its own measures. Instead, the country is more divided, with communities having less influence over decisions and receiving less accountable services.
The report makes a series of key recommendations for the next government, including a move away from a model of public sector reform based on a market based model and competition, to one that is more collaborative, working with wider civil society rather than simply seeing it as a contractual arm.
There has been wide media coverage – Huffington Post has an article from the report’s main author at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/caroline-slocock/big-society_b_6505902.html, The Guardian’s has one titled ‘Why the ‘big society’ is now just a hashtag for coalition hypocrisy’ at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/20/the-big-society-civil-exchange-audit-shows-coalition-contempt-and-hypocrisy, and Civil Society News coverage includes reaction from NCVO and the government, http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/governance/news/content/18887/think_tank_study_concludes_big_society_has_failed.
Civil Exchange press release http://www.civilexchange.org.uk/press-release-20-january-2015, or publication page for ‘Whose Society? The Final Big Society Audit’ (pdf, 2.4MB) at http://www.civilexchange.org.uk/whose-society-the-final-big-society-audit.