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Paddy's presentation

  1. 1. An update on the Big Society
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ The time has come to disperse power </li></ul><ul><li>more widely in Britain today ” </li></ul><ul><li>(Coalition Agreement – May 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Strong local government is at the heart of our reforms. </li></ul><ul><li>[But] local authorities will continue their shift from self-sufficient providers to commissioners of services from a diverse range of suppliers in different sectors, including helping their own staff to set up new social enterprises ” </li></ul><ul><li>(Open Public Services White Paper, June 2011) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction and background <ul><li>This presentation will be a quick recap on what has happened in the last year in terms of the direction of travel with the Big Society </li></ul><ul><li>For those of you lucky enough to have been at the event organised on the 8 th Dec you will have heard the excellent presentation that Frances Daves gave that described the background to the Big Society project and what the government wanted to get from the Big Society </li></ul><ul><li>In the next 5 minutes or so I will just a quick update in terms of what Frances talked about and what has happened since he spoke to us </li></ul><ul><li>It is worth stressing that a lot of the legislative programme that enables Big Society is currently going through the Legislative process e.g. the Localism Bill </li></ul>
  4. 4. What did Frances say? <ul><li>Frances provided some background that talked about the influencers of Big Society – Communitarianism (rediscovering communities with individuals collaborating to meet community need), Conservative Christian Fellowship with the One Nation Project and a critique of the labour government’s Command State. Together these led to a view of social responsibility that was brought together under the banner of Big Society </li></ul><ul><li>He stated that the coalition wanted to achieve this through: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Public sector reform – what we do for you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community empowerment – what we do together </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Philanthropic action – what others can do to help you </li></ul></ul><ul><li>He then talked about achieving this through decentralisation, information and accountability and funding results and not processes and no pilots </li></ul>
  5. 5. What is happening - Decentralisation <ul><li>Localism Bill – Currently in report stage at House of Lords – next due to be discussed in October </li></ul><ul><ul><li>General power of competence to local authorities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>LAs will have the ability to change governance arrangements subject to a referendum e.g. a return to a Committee System </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Elected mayors – Shadow mayors in big cities (but not Porsmouth) and forced referendums – Portsmouth still subject to call for a mayor – if seen as a success in other cities might increase pressure </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act – received Royal Assent in the last week </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Election for new Police Commissioner for Hampshire & IoW next week </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other legislation with Free Schools / Academy Schools / GP Commissioning etc. - starting to pass power to front line </li></ul>
  6. 6. What is happening - Decentralisation <ul><li>So starting to happen </li></ul><ul><li>But not without its problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Even the Daily Telegraph / CPRE / National Trust - up in arms about changes to planning regulations with emphasis on development - and a concern that rural communities might have houses forced on them if that is what developers want </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health & Social Care Bill </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Significant pause – some changes to the make up of Commissioning consortiums etc. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>We now publish all expenditure over £500 </li></ul><ul><li>The expectation was that this would create an army of armchair auditors but so far the evidence is that newspapers are using the information but not yet led to the identification of potential markets </li></ul><ul><li>We are still getting commands from on-high despite the decentralised approach – payments to chief executives, frequency of bin collections, where cuts should be made, what is appropriate to put on credit cards – still seems like accountability to the Secretary of State </li></ul>What is happening – information & accountability
  8. 8. <ul><li>Localism Bill includes Community Right to Buy (really a right to bid), Community Right to Challenge – consultation just finished on how these will work – some competing interests and not clear how interests of 3 rd sector will be protected </li></ul><ul><li>Open public services white paper – 5 principles good but some concerns about reality of how choice will work </li></ul><ul><li>Big Society Bank now in operation – funds other financial institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Revised Best Value Guidance </li></ul><ul><li>Social Enterprises – starting to develop – some concerns of e.g. West Surrey Health Care </li></ul>What is happening – reform of public services
  9. 9. Summary and timeline <ul><li>It is still early to see how it will work in practice </li></ul><ul><li>Things are starting to enter the statute book which will deliver aspects of Big Society </li></ul><ul><li>Big Society as a brand seems to be staring to disappear – the Open Public Services White Paper – currently out for consultation and really a central pillar for Big Society – mentions Big Society once and that is in relation to the Big Society bank </li></ul><ul><li>If you ignore the title then you can start to see progress in what actually makes up Big Society e.g. decentralisation, funding, public sector reform – but starting to get problems e.g. health reforms and planning reforms and there are still inconsistencies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Secretary of State wants to decentralise unless he disagrees (pay, credit cards, bins), Frances said no more pilots but even CLG has asked for authorities to pilot radical Community Budgets </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So it’s happening but not happened yet – may not be smooth and may not be called Big Society </li></ul>
  10. 10. Communities <ul><li>Best Value Guidance </li></ul><ul><li>Duty to Involve has been revoked but we must consult with a wide range of local persons at all stages of the commissioning cycle, including when decommissioning services. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid passing on disproportionate reductions to the VCS, but if we do reduce funding we must make provision for the organisation, service users, and wider community to put forward options on how to reshape the service or project </li></ul>
  11. 11. Open Public Services White Paper <ul><li>5 principles for modernising public services – hard to disagree with: </li></ul><ul><li>Choice - Wherever possible we will increase choice. </li></ul><ul><li>Decentralisation - Public services should be decentralised to the lowest appropriate level </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity - Public services should be open to a range of providers </li></ul><ul><li>Fairness - We will ensure fair access to public services </li></ul><ul><li>Accountability - Public services should be accountable to users and to taxpayers. </li></ul><ul><li>Areas where it supports the council’s agenda e.g. community budgets, TIFs, transfer of public health to local government. </li></ul><ul><li>Concerns around: </li></ul><ul><li>risk of market failure (e.g. Southern Cross) </li></ul><ul><li>centralisation of powers to Secretaries of State in several cases </li></ul><ul><li>risk that the vulnerable are least able to exercise choice </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of checks and balances to ensure genuine diversity of provision </li></ul><ul><li>BUT the revised Best Value Guidance for local government m akes explicit our scope to consider overall value, including environmental and social value , when reviewing service provision </li></ul>