When it was elected the government pledged to: “support the creation and expansion of mutuals, cooperatives, charities and social enterprises, and support these groups to have much greater involvement in the running of public services” (Cabinet Office, Building the Big Society, May 2010)
- Capacitybuilders, the government agency responsible for supporting the third sector has just lost £1.3m of its budget
- NCVO has revealed the results of crowd-sourcing the reality of government cuts to the sector – 700 responses to date, showing cuts of up to 90% to some programmes of work
- Charities warn that cuts threaten the Big Society idea: What the government says it wants to achieve with the big society and how it is behaving are two different things. All this has created a lack of trust. Within weeks of this government starting out it has destroyed its relationship with the sector through its dishonesty.
“So is the big society a romantic Tory aspiration or cynical political sophistry? Follow the money and the story unfolds. Far from finding themselves cherished, charities are taking a hard hit from the first round of cuts”. (Polly Toynbee, The Big Society is a Big, Fat Lie )
I’ve been planning a post about the role of the sector in a mixed economy of local service providers, and the need for it to be properly funded, for ages but couldn’t get the right words into the right order. Then I found this, so, with thanks to Progress, here’s the thing: ” If local groups are to deliver more in the way of services, they need to coordinate their work with others in the same boat and work in consortia; to share good and best practice both in commissioning and delivery; and have access to capacity-building processes and skill development. They need to be genuine partners to local authorities to work on common programmes. All these are under threat from a cuts agenda which regards back office functions as less important and therefore more readily discardable. “