Understanding the big society pete alcock


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  • Centre right needed new narrative to respond to recession and New Labour third way. Distance from neo-liberalism and free markets Distance from state/public sector – by associating this with New Labour profligacy and failure Philip Blond and Respublica – Red Tory – return to communitarianism (cf Blair in 1997/8) New narrative also able to incorporate Liberal Democrat concerns with localism and citizen rights.
  • But, Big Society Day may now be dropped!
  • Strategic Partners – all main infrastructure agencies – to be cut from 42 to 11 Funding cut from £12.2m to £4m in 2011 - £3m in 2012, £2m in 2013, then zero… Major redundancies in NCVO, NAVCA, VE, etc Consultation on support needed for sector – by-passing current infrastructure?
  • Understanding the big society pete alcock

    1. 1. Theory and Policy: Understanding the Big Society Pete Alcock
    2. 2. Theoretical and Conceptual Analysis <ul><li>What is the Third Sector? </li></ul><ul><li>Third Sector or Civil Society? </li></ul><ul><li>Overlapping boundaries – hybridity and fragmentation </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Strategic Unity’ – constructing the sector through policy action </li></ul>
    3. 3. Policy Environment <ul><li>History of policy engagement with the sector – changes over time </li></ul><ul><li>From ‘incremental consolidation’ (voluntary sector) </li></ul><ul><li>To ‘hyperactive mainstreaming (third sector) – Kendall </li></ul><ul><li>New Labour legacy </li></ul>
    4. 4. New Labour Legacy <ul><li>Hyperactive mainstreaming </li></ul><ul><li>Partnership - Compact </li></ul><ul><li>Horizontal support </li></ul><ul><li>Service delivery – contract, accountability and performance </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic engagement – Recession Summits </li></ul>
    5. 5. Policy Devolution <ul><li>(Dis)United Kingdom – third sector policy devolved since 1999 </li></ul><ul><li>New policy spaces </li></ul><ul><li>New policy actors </li></ul><ul><li>Similar policy direction </li></ul><ul><li>But – Political changes in 2010 and 2011: No Big Society in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland! </li></ul>
    6. 6. Recession and General Election <ul><li>Major upheaval in economic and political landscape – policy environments never stand still! </li></ul><ul><li>Discourse analysis of recession – Crisis, Mixed Picture or Phony War? </li></ul><ul><li>Third sector in 2010 election – From Partnership and Modernisation to the Big Society </li></ul>
    7. 7. Big Society and Cameron Government <ul><li>Core theme of Cameron and Conservative Party in run up to 2010 election </li></ul><ul><li>Hugo Young speech – November 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Building a Big Society paper – April 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Manifesto – your contribution to government… </li></ul><ul><li>But – confusion on the door-step, profile dropped… </li></ul>
    8. 8. Coalition Government <ul><li>Big Society quickly back on the agenda - Building the Big Society, Early Coalition Policy Statement </li></ul><ul><li>May 18 – PM and DPM </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Big Society at the heart of public sector reform…’ </li></ul><ul><li>July 19 – PM </li></ul><ul><li>Liverpool Big Society speech – ‘my great passion’, ‘huge culture change’ </li></ul>
    9. 9. Big Society – New Political Discourse <ul><li>A narrative for centre-right Conservatism </li></ul><ul><li>Credit Crunch and Recession – failure of New Right, free market neo-liberalism – there is a society… </li></ul><ul><li>Rejection of New Labour’s ‘Big State’ – governments do not know best… </li></ul><ul><li>Or….. cover for extensive cuts in public welfare expenditure </li></ul>
    10. 10. New Language <ul><li>Office for Civil Society – ‘third sector abolished’! </li></ul><ul><li>Cabinet Office programme </li></ul><ul><li>Making it easier to run voluntary organisations </li></ul><ul><li>Making it easier for organisations to work with the state </li></ul><ul><li>Getting more resources into the sector </li></ul>
    11. 11. New Policy Programmes <ul><li>Localism – Right to challenge </li></ul><ul><li>National Citizens Service </li></ul><ul><li>Community Organiser training </li></ul><ul><li>Big Society Day </li></ul><ul><li>Vanguard Communities - [ Liverpool ], Windsor and Maidenhead, Sutton, Eden Valley (Cumbria) </li></ul>
    12. 12. Policy Continuity <ul><li>In practice policies build on Labour legacy! </li></ul><ul><li>Public service delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Community Organisers and Community First </li></ul><ul><li>Mutuals and Social Enterprises – Right to Provide </li></ul><ul><li>Big Society Bank </li></ul><ul><li>Infrastructure support </li></ul><ul><li>Encouraging giving and volunteering </li></ul><ul><li>Role of OCS…. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Public Spending Review <ul><li>OCS Budget cut by around 60% </li></ul><ul><li>QUANGOS closed - Capacitybuilders, Commission for Compact </li></ul><ul><li>End of horizontal programmes – Futurebuilders, Change-up, Social Enterprise Investment Fund </li></ul><ul><li>Cuts in support for Strategic Partners </li></ul><ul><li>Local authority support lost - False Economy, 2000 charities experiencing £110m cuts in 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>NCVO estimate £2.8 bn loss 2011-15 </li></ul>
    14. 14. Big Society Contradictions <ul><li>There is a paradox at the heart of the ‘Big Society’ message namely that it can be identified as desirable by legislators, but it cannot be legislated for. For if we legislate for the Big Society then it is no longer society which expands but the state </li></ul><ul><li>Conservative peer, Lord Bates </li></ul><ul><li>Yet community organisation and civic engagement often focuses on the (local) state </li></ul>
    15. 15. Policy Devolutio n <ul><li>Third Sector policy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - after the recession and the 2011 elections </li></ul><ul><li>Different discourses – no Big Society? </li></ul><ul><li>Managing public expenditure cuts </li></ul><ul><li>Public service reform </li></ul><ul><li>Infrastructure support </li></ul>
    16. 16. Other Policy Actors <ul><li>Sector Leaders – a ‘policy elite’? </li></ul><ul><li>BIG Lottery Fund as a policy actor </li></ul><ul><li>BIG’s journey – from Courtship to Honeymoon to a Mature Relationship… </li></ul><ul><li>And… Public Services Reform (White Paper) – what role for the third sector? </li></ul>
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