Investing in social growth. can the big society be more than a slogan


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Few would dispute that in the years ahead government will be able to do less, and society will have to do more. The Big Society has been promoted by government as a framework for thinking about how this might happen. As an idea it has been much criticised both for vagueness and for diverting attention from spending cuts.
This report sets out how it could be made more tangible and useful. The ten point plan draws on dozens of practical examples that the Young Foundation and others have developed in fields ranging from community organising to jobs, social enterprise to data management. The report warns of the gap between the ambition of the Big Society and the modest proposals currently associated with it, and of the risk that cuts will fall most heavily on innovative social enterprises and small grassroots organisations rather than big public or private ones. It shows how government can develop better tools for judging the social value of public programmes and spending, to reduce the harm associated with deficit reduction. Finally, it recommends a sharper focus on social wealth and social growth to make it easier to judge, and measure, whether the policies associated with the Big Society are having any real impact.

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Investing in social growth. can the big society be more than a slogan

  1. 1. Investing inCan the Big Society be more than a slogan?
  2. 2. About theYoung FoundationThe Young Foundation brings togetherinsight, innovation and entrepreneurshipto meet social needs. We have a 55 yeartrack record of success with venturessuch as the Open University, Which?,the School for Social Entrepreneurs andHealthline (the precursor of NHS Direct).We work across the UK and internationally– carrying out research, influencingpolicy, creating new organisations andsupporting others to do the same, oftenwith imaginative uses of new technology.We now have over 60 staff, working onover 40 ventures at any one time, with staffin New York and Paris as well as Londonand Birmingham in the
  3. 3. SOciaL grOWTHIntroductionThe Big Society is a loose and rather This kind of social wealth has turnedbaggy concept. its short-term purpose was out to be just as important for humanto signal to the right that a conservative happiness as economic wealth – indeedgovernment would be willing to shrink evidence shows that the quality ofthe state, and to the left that it would relationships matters more than incomecare about society. it’s already proved or consumption.2 all of us know in oursomewhat baffling to the public and has own lives that the wealth of our socialbeen much criticised for vagueness, for relationships – whether there are friendsintellectual vacuity and for being blind and family there for us when things goboth to history, and to what civil society is wrong, as well as in the good times –already doing. matters as much as what we own or how much we earn.Yet few would dispute its fundamentalpremise: that in the years ahead Focusing on social wealth and socialgovernment will be able to do less, and growth helps to anchor what otherwisesociety in all its forms will have to do more. risks being a rather abstract debate; itThere’s lots to be said for a society that can has the virtue of being measurable; andgovern itself and take responsibility. and it sharpens attention on a range of issuesmany of the advocates of the Big Society which go well beyond encouraging moreare genuinely, and rightly, committed to volunteering, some of which are aboutthe idea that societies thrive as much from power, and some of which echo thosegiving as they do from buying and selling. faced in economic policy – how to promote effective social innovation, how to inspirein this publication, we suggest both social entrepreneurship, and how tohow the idea of the Big Society could reduce social waste. in what follows webecome more rigorous, and how it could describe some of the practical ways inbe translated into a practical programme which very different organisations, rangingfor government, both national and local. from charities to local authorities, gPsWe also focus on a concept that is more to businesses, can contribute to growingprecise, and potentially more radical, than social wealth during what’s likely to be athe Big Society: the idea of social wealth period of economic austerity.and social growth.1 Economic growth isa familiar concept, measurable in termsof gDP. Social growth complementseconomic growth – and refers to growthin the quantity and quality of socialrelationships, trust and support. 3
  4. 4. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiONBackgroundThe Young Foundation and its all of our projects share the goal of bothpredecessor organisations3 have been meeting social needs and leaving behinddirectly involved in strengthening society a stronger capacity for society to act. alland pushing up social growth for over are designed to make the most of people’sfifty years: helping to create mass untapped potential.membership voluntary organisationslike Which? and the University of theThird age; growing new generations ofcommunity leaders through the schoolsfor social entrepreneurs; and initiating theOpen University which remains perhapsthe most successful example of a neworganisation that helped to transformthousands of people’s sense of theirown potential. in total, well over 60 neworganisations were born out of the workof Michael Young and his colleagues, andseveral hundred indirectly. For him thegreat challenge of our times was to makethe most of people’s untapped potential,and he recognised the vital role that activegovernment could play in that. But he wasalso keen to ensure that a big state didn’tleave people small.Today, nearly five years after the launch ofthe Young Foundation, we are involved insetting up over 50 ventures and initiativesthat range from neighbourhood websitesto community schools, new modelsof healthcare to training communitycampaigners, apprenticeships to newways of managing public data. Weare a unique combination of socialentrepreneurship, venture investor,incubator and thinktank.4
  5. 5. SOciaL grOWTHWhat we knowabout social growth– and the lack of itMost of these initiatives are responses These patterns are not unique to theto unmet needs. Over the last decades UK. in the US the proportion of peoplethe economy has grown fairly steadily, who have no-one to turn to on importantusually at a bit over 2% each year. But issues rose from one in ten to one in four,our research has shown that many have between the 1980s and the 2000s, a timeexperienced very little social growth of strong economic growth.during this period: millions becamemore lonely and isolated and many But it would be wrong to conclude thatcommunities became more disconnected. society is falling apart. although largein various studies we’ve looked at isolated minorities are feeling disconnected, mostolder people,4 estates that were bypassed people are happy with their lives andby regeneration,5 and teenagers stumbling generally thriving. a large majority believethrough messy transitions to adulthood that people get on well with each otherwithout the necessary support from in their neighbourhoods. and measuresfamilies and public agencies.6 in ‘Sinking of social capital have generally risen,and Swimming’, a comprehensive survey albeit modestly, over the last 15 years.of changing needs, we showed that seven The idea that civic endeavour has beenmillion people believe themselves to be squeezed out by an over-mighty state issuffering from a “severe” lack of social hard to square with the facts: half thesupport; a million or so have no-one to population volunteers; the numbers ofturn to and no-one who appreciates them. charities and voluntary organisationsWe also showed, drawing on focus groups has grown steadily; the UK has morewith representative groups of people social enterprises than any other countryfrom across the UK, that the public now (62,000 according to the Social Enterprisesees these kinds of need – our need for coalition). There are many examples ofothers, and for emotional support – as social damage, of blocked potential andjust as important as our material needs unnecessary unhappiness. But millionsfor housing, transport or money. are involved in the day to day creation of social wealth, taking responsibility and acting directly to meet needs. 5
  6. 6. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiONGovernment andsociety – a zero sumgame?all debate about the Big Society risks What matters is not whether governmentbeing obscured by simplistic views about is big or small, but how it operates:whether government is inherently good whether it promotes liberty and the rightor bad. During the 1980s there was a to criticise; whether it encourages publiccommonly held idea that if government services to engage with voluntary andreined in, society, along with the market, community organisations; whether it iswould automatically fill the space that it open or closed. it may seem paradoxicalleft. government and society were seen for a government to promote the bigas a zero sum game. Bigger government society. Yet there are in fact manynecessarily meant smaller society. practical ways in which government can help society to organise itself.There is a grain of truth in this the same way that bureaucracy canstifle entrepreneurship, it can have astifling effect on the inventiveness ofcommunities. Yet when government cutback sharply in places as varied as USinner cities, and countries like russia,the promised revival of civil societydidn’t happen. Often the spaces left bygovernment were filled by organisedcrime or gangs. Ordinary citizens becamemore afraid, not more trusting. and theevidence from around the world showsthat, surprisingly perhaps, the countrieswhere civil society is often strongest arealso ones with active government, even insuch diverse countries as Brazil, Denmarkand canada.6
  7. 7. SOciaL grOWTHA ten pointprogramme for socialgrowthMany of the announcements made so farabout the Big Society are welcome, even ifthe parallel cuts being made to funding forcharities and voluntary organisations arenot. The announcements include variouskinds of support for volunteering and civicaction, plans to introduce civic service at16 and proposals to make life easier forlocal groups by, for example, helping themget insurance cover.But, in light of the scale of ambition,all of these steps remain relativelymodest, and may have little measurableimpact on overall levels of trust,social connectedness and feelings ofempowerment. Here we summarise tensteps that could help turn the generalaspirations of the Big Society into largerand more tangible improvements inpeople’s lives. 7
  8. 8. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiON01 /Give new rightsfor society andindividuals to actWe believe that the starting point is new other kinds of rights, including extendingrights, not government programmes. the principle of personal budgets to putSocieties become strong through the control of public services in the hands ofexercise of rights and powers, not by citizens. community Land Trusts, whichhaving things done to them. can give local people collective ownership over assets, including buildings and land,The Young Foundation has advocated are another important device for givinga series of new rights which we think control back to communities.would create stronger communities. Oneis the right for communities to take over Looking to the long term an even moreunused land and buildings, now a key important right will be the right for citizenspart of the coalition agreement (see box to exert greater control over information1).7 We have also argued for new rights for used by the state. We’ve been workingcommunities to set up strong institutions with Mydex (see box 2) to develop anfor neighbourhood governance and argued alternative both to ‘Big Brother’ styleagainst local government being able to identity cards and to the ever greaterveto this. Over the past five years we have accumulation of personal data in thedescribed in detail how communities could hands of commercial companies. Mydexexercise rights to set up neighbourhood has the potential to open up publiccouncils; what powers they should services by giving individual citizens muchhave (and which functions are not best more say over the information that is heldmanaged at this level); how they should be about them and how it is to raise money, both through preceptsand through new devices like community Securing any of these rights is notPledgebanks (where residents commit, simple. But all are starting points for anyfor example, £20 a year to improving local government that is serious about trustingamenities so long as another 1000 or 5000 people to be competent governors of theirpeople commit as well). We have also own lives.described how these bodies should bewound up if enthusiasm wanes.8rights of this kind could in time transformthe day to day experience of manycommunities. The same is true of some8
  9. 9. SOciaL grOWTHbox 1rights to take over under-used public assetsSharing the public estate with civil society is a way of getting more valuefrom public assets and supporting community engagement at the same time.Examples include bringing more empty office blocks or unused green spacesinto community use, or opening up schools, libraries and other public buildingswhich are locked up at night. Until now discussions about the transfer of publicassets have been caught up in the red tape surrounding the permanent transferof buildings to community groups and concerns about ownership arrangements.Community groups should have the right to reclaim wasted public assets whenthey are unused or underused. Where a group can prove greater public benefit,spaces should pass to the community by default (on a temporary basis). TheYoung Foundation is currently working with Essex Council to prototype thistype of rapid but temporary asset 2mydexData about most of us can be found in hundreds of databases. Some data is heldby banks and retailers, other data by government agencies. Some of the datais wrong. Occasionally large data sets are lost. Few of us feel in control of whoknows what about our personal data. The alternative of using trusted personal data is exemplified by Mydex,founded by entrepreneurs and digital rights activists William Heath, IainHenderson and Alan Mitchell. This community interest company, backed bythe Young Foundation, equips people with a platform for managing, sharingand realising the value of personal data about their details and preferences.Mydex represents one of the most radical ideas for shifting power from biggovernment and big business towards the community and the individual. Mydexworks on smartphones and PCs. It provides a personal data store, third partyauthentication or verification of claims, and selective disclosure either for eachtransaction or over time, with the aim of helping people protect and realise thevalue of their personal data as they transact online. Live service starts in autumn2010 in a community prototype with two local councils, a leading social networkand online authentication services. The medium-term aim is to create a citizen-owned organisation that will protect and organise personal data and ensure it isused with integrity. 9
  10. 10. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiON02 /Develop new tools tohelp people organisefor themselvesa second step is to support new tools and Platforms of this kind have the potentialplatforms that can help people organise to transform many areas of daily life. Thethemselves in ways that improve their daily School of Everything is another organisationlives. The internet makes this much easier supported by the Young Foundation whichthan in the past. a range of new platforms delivers a way of connecting people whoare becoming the keys to community want to teach with people who want to learnactivity, from the very local level to global (it hosts over 25,000 teachers). it deliversplatforms like Kiva, which channels finance a radically more effective way to supportto social projects around the world.9 adults wanting to learn through informal learning circles.14 Meanwhile, in the field ofThe Young Foundation has supported health, we’ve been helping Tyze which usesthe proliferation of timebanks such as social network technologies to organise aSpice (see box 3), which creates time network of support for vulnerable older orbanking schemes within schools, housing disabled people. Friends, family, doctorsassociations and communities providing and others can coordinate their visits anda way for people to exchange time.10 provide help when it is most needed, evenWe also support the spread of local for simple tasks such as cooking a meal orwebsites which provide a place for news, prescription reminders.15organising community activities enablepeople to report local problems and are Most of these platforms are relativelycurrently advising four local councils on cheap. But they are not easy to fund:tools such as blogs, social networks and they do not provide financial returns tomobile phones to support local action.11 commercial investors; they do not fit intoPreviously, the Young Foundation and existing public funding categories; andMySociety developed philanthropic funding has tended to steerto allow people across England to report clear of new technologies. a small sliceenvironmental problems and damaged of new funding allocations for the Bigpublic facilities directly to the council and Society should be devoted to platforms andother authorities.12 The development of networks that can help people to organisestrong neighbourhood websites, combining themselves – through grants, conditionalnews, exchanges, discussion groups loans and in some cases equity.and marketplaces, and bringing togetherpeople of all ages, could be the singlemost practical step to change the feel ofcommunity life across the country.1310
  11. 11. SOciaL grOWTHbox 3spice – timebanking to mobilise communitiesTimebanking helps communities share skills and knowledge, allowing peopleto ‘deposit’ time and help others and ‘withdraw’ it when they need somethingdone themselves. Various types of time bank have been in existence forseveral decades. Spice, which came out of the Wales Institute for CommunityCurrencies and is supported by the Young Foundation’s Launchpad, is adistinctive new model of timebank that embeds the bank within a school orhousing association, helping to rediscover community spirit and local identity inparts of Wales hit hard by industrial decline. There are now more than 40 Spiceprojects across South Wales. For example, the Creation Development Trusthosts a ‘time centre’ at its base at Blaengarw Working Men’s Hall where timecredits can be used for helping to organise social events, help out in the hall,work on environmental and arts projects, volunteer at summer play schemes andhelp organise the local carnival. In return credits can be spent on a range of localservices from meals at the community cafe to the internet room above (whichcan only be paid for with credits). Discussions with a bus company planningto let people part-pay with time credits have been held and in the future socialhousing tenants may even be able to pay their rent with the local currency. InBlaengarw around one in three people in the former pit village are now signedup to timebanking. In Bettws, another former mining village, the timebank based at Bettws Boysand Girls Club is credited with helping crime drop by 17 per cent in the spaceof a year. In partnership with the local school, police, youth offending team andcommunity groups, it has got young people involved in activities such as anti-bullying projects and clean-up days. The time credits earned can then be spenton trips out and classes in everything from judo to carpentry. Spice is workingto replicate its success in Wales by setting up timebanks in communities acrossEngland. 11
  12. 12. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiON03/Develop new financefor social impactSocial growth needs new sources of discussion on the potential for a Socialfinance. Some of that has to come from investment Bank), the governmentgovernment. Some can come from recently committed itself to creating a Bigphilanthropy. More should come from Society Bank. a key early inspiration wasbusiness, which currently accounts for the National community Developmentonly 2 per cent of the funding available to initiative (NcDi), a coalition of banks andcivil society.16 foundations that fostered remarkable numbers of community developmentWhat is needed, however, is not just corporations in poor communities acrossmore money but better designed money: the US by providing finance and buildingfinance that addresses the misaligned capacity.incentives in social policy or fosters aculture of prevention rather than cure. The shape of the Big Society BankFinancing models could ensure that remains unclear. critics fear that it couldlocal authorities or NgOs responsible for become both over-centralised and over-providing services to young people get a dominated by bankers without a feel forshare of the benefits from reductions in the realities of community development.prison numbers or benefits bills which There is a risk that, like other funds in thethey can account for. Likewise, civil society past, the bank will make only low risk and,organisations could be funded to focus consequently, low impact investments,their activities on preventing negative often secured against property. This wouldoutcomes, rather than intervening once echo the broader weakness of financepeople reach crisis, or for investing in the UK which has traditionally beenheavily in early years support which criticised for its unwillingness to investyield greater long-term social gains. We in new technology or entrepreneurs. athink that financing tools such as Social key lesson of the NcDi was the needimpact Bonds can address these policy to combine a range of different typesmisalignments and incentivise a culture of of funding, including grants, loans andprevention by bringing together the costs quasi-equity, alongside a strong emphasisand benefits associated with activities on supporting capacity. if the Big Societyfocused on positive outcomes (see box 4). Bank ends up dominated by bankers rather than society, a great opportunity willFollowing a protracted debate about have been best to use unclaimed assets inbank accounts (including a decade of12
  13. 13. SOciaL grOWTHbox 4social impact bondsTwo years ago the Young Foundation coined the term ‘Social Impact Bond’(SIB) and developed a series of ideas for new financing tools that could beused to support better outcomes in criminal justice, health and education.17There are many variants of how this could work. For example, a local authoritycould borrow on existing markets for a package of investment in a socialimpact programme, such as supporting teenagers at risk of NEET status getinto employment or training. The programme would be delivered by a newpartnership of statutory and third sector organisations. The authority wouldthen receive a series of future payments from national government if particularmilestones were achieved. This could range from the numbers of participantswho achieved educational qualifications relative to an agreed baseline of similarlocal authorities to a reduction in offending. Similar programmes could focus onimproving lifestyles, measure through fewer hospital admissions. The repaymentsreceived by the delivery agencies would be a proportion of the lifetime savings tonational government. Others could take the form of a contract between national and localgovernment. The first philanthropic SIB was signed in Peterborough shortlybefore the 2010 general election with the previous government by a neworganisation, Social Finance.18 Several local authorities are now developingdifferent kinds of SIB. 13
  14. 14. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiON04 /Support (the right)social enterprisesto scalegovernment ministers who witness the elements of the public sector that can nowork of good voluntary organisations often longer be funded.20ask why these can not simply be scaledup or rolled out nationally. Those involved David cameron has talked about the needare naturally proud of what they do and to spot, nurture and grow the best socialecho the point. But although they can enterprises. a small social venture fieldoften be more effective than mainstream is beginning to take shape, and gettingservices, experience has shown that better at doing this. The Launchpadprojects that work well at small scale do teams at the Young Foundation arenot necessarily grow successfully. To grow probably the closest to what cameronthey have to standardise and simplify what has described, investing in new socialthey do; sometimes they have to get rid of ventures sometimes developed in-housetheir founders and change their internal and sometimes by social entrepreneurs.structures. Successful social ventures Learning Launchpad21 for example backsare, on the whole, rooted in a locality, dozens of social ventures, such as Workingpersonalities and relationships. Often it rite22 (see box 5), Studio Schools23 (theis their very smallness that makes them first of which will open in September 2010)effective.19 and Fastlaners, supporting unemployed graduates. its counterpart, Healthrather than seeking to grow any project Launchpad24 has developed projectsthat works, we favour intelligent scaling. which tackle unmet health needs, such asThis means being smart about selecting Maslaha (a website which steers Muslimsthose things that can and should be grown, through everyday dilemmas, includingand those which should remain small. This those which prevent them from accessingrequires a stronger field of social venture proper health advice),25 Neuroresponseintermediaries which can help spread (see box 6)26 and the Healthy incentiveswhat works, helping innovators and social company (pioneering new incentives toentrepreneurs to refine their business help people adopt healthy behaviours).models, build the right teams, and improvetheir effectiveness. There is also a role Other intermediaries are also developingfor ‘social enterprise mutuals’ bringing a track record. They include UnLtd,27together smaller social enterprises to bid funded out of the lottery and backingfor contracts, to share some back office individuals with promising ideas, and afunctions and to work together to take over number of social investment funds or14
  15. 15. SOciaL grOWTHventure philanthropists mainly aimed at role to play in growing a more effective civilmore established organisations, such as society. a major priority for the Big Societyimpetus28 and Venturesome.29 a high Bank will be to support a range of differentproportion of these bodies focus on models, some acting as investors to growfinance. another small group of service existing organisations, some supportingdesign organisations are using design start-ups and innovations, and somemodels to create new types of public focusing on addressing specific problemsservice, such as Thinkpublic30 and such as supporting chaotic families orParticiple.31 all these intermediaries have a helping young people into work. box 5 working rite Working Rite is a social enterprise which is successfully scaling up, while maintaining its original ethos. It began as a mentoring project in Leith, Scotland, matching teenage boys with local tradesmen. In 2007, the first English Working Rite opened in Sheffield and, with support from the Young Foundation’s Learning Launchpad, the project is now up and running across Scotland. Working Rite is successfully scaling up because it taps into a demonstrable demand - in this case a desperate need for apprenticeships which is not being adequately met by the large registered training providers currently targeting the one million young people in Britain not in education, training or employment (NEET). Sandy Campbell, a former trade union member and activist, began developing the idea for a modern rite-of-passage for young people after studying rituals across the world. His model is based on the insight that for a young person who has spent 11 years or more failing to learn in classroom-based learning, more of the same is unlikely to transform their life chances. Moreover, token employer engagement, such as unpaid work experience doing low-level work, is insufficient to prepare young people adequately for the world of work. Working Rite focuses on linking teenagers to builders and other tradespeople in a strong one-to-one relationship. The Coalition has committed to creating 100,000 new places based on the Working Rite model. 15
  16. 16. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiON box 6 neuroresponse A majority of the NHS’s costs now go on long-term conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, rather than on acute conditions. But most health services were designed to deal with acute conditions. Health services everywhere have struggled to adapt. A good example of a radically different approach, which simultaneously cuts costs and improves patient experiences is Neuroresponse, a new service for people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. Neuroresponse was developed by a senior nurse – Bernadette Porter, drawing on her experiences and the views of people suffering from MS. It has received backing from the Young Foundation and the UCLH NHS Trust. Neuroresponse provides support through the phone, the internet and email, and through a video clinic. It greatly cuts down on the need for hospital and doctor visits, and provides much faster help in handling crises. Early pilots suggest it could achieve cost savings of as much as 50%. Neuroresponse is a social enterprise – and an example of the kind of radical innovation that is very hard to develop within either the public sector or the private sector. It’s also a good example of a social enterprise that has the potential to be scaled up nationally and internationally, and adapted to other long-term conditions.16
  17. 17. SOciaL grOWTH05/Open up publicservices to societyPublic services should be seen as a part intensive weekend workshops to designof society, not an alternative to it. gPs, more effective public services online,primary schools and libraries can, and achieving results at a fraction of thedo, play a crucial part in community life. cost of traditional public sector iTLikewise, residents play a significant role contracts.33in the delivery of public services. For y Until recently, the London collaborativeexample, half a million people volunteer in brought together all of London’s publicthe NHS and nearly as many are school sectors, alongside civil society andgovernors in state schools. But most public business, to create problem-solvingservants still find it hard to collaborate teams to address practical issueswith civil society. This will need to change such as unemployment, retrofittingas they struggle to make cuts of between of housing and behaviour change.20% and 50% over the next few years and The idea was to create a networkrely on people for the delivery of services of collaboration alongside the moreeven more. formal bureaucratic and partnership structures. Variants of the model arein the last five years we have piloted a now being developed in various citiesrange of different ways for public services around the become more open, and to amplifyideas coming from the community rather We have also developed proposals forthan forcing them to fit into the public community entrepreneurs or brokers tosector’s rules and structures. For example: link up communities, public services and community dividends that give a sharey Social Entrepreneurs in residence of savings from the public purse back (SEirs) have been appointed in London to the communities that achieve them.34 and Birmingham, situated within the Part of their aim is to help public services public sector but charged with finding mobilise community capacities better. This and growing the most promising social could be measured through research tools ventures, as well as ideas from frontline such as Social Network analysis, that map staff.32 This is an idea that is now ready the relationships between statutory and to spread into many other parts of local community actors in local areas in order to government and the health service (see show whether partnerships between local box 7). service providers and residents are purelyy Social innovation camps bring together cosmetic or genuinely offer people a share web designers and volunteers in in power.35 17
  18. 18. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiONThe key to achieving a more open skills of those procuring services, to helppublic sector will be to develop a more them understand what social enterprisestransparent model of public service can offer, how to manage risk and howcommissioning that’s responsive to to hold providers to account. They alsocivil society. at present there are strong need to be supported in commissioningpressures to commission public services innovations which could be useful for theat ever greater scale, which inevitably whole country.36benefits big commercial providers at theexpense of smaller social enterprises. Onerelatively quick solution is to develop the box 7 social entrepreneur in residence Social Entrepreneurs in Residence (SEiR) were developed by the Young Foundation to help public organisations make the most of the innovative capacity of local social entrepreneurs and their own frontline staff. They sit within public service commissioning bodies and scout for social entrepreneurs with ground breaking ideas that can meet the pressing needs of the public sector. They then provide a mix of coaching support and investment to develop new ideas into sustainable and scalable ventures. Two SEiRs are currently operational. Eleanor Cappell is based in NHS Birmingham East and North. Within three months of her appointment she identified 45 ventures with the potential to become commissioned as a mainstream service, with a particular focus on issues that carry a high cost for the NHS. Examples include Saheli - working to improve the mental and physical health and qualifications of Asian women and girls - and Start Again - helping to improve the mental health of marginalised young people. Projects are supported because of their potential to meet health needs more cost-effectively than other alternatives. The second SEiR, Philip Tulba, is based in Kingston, working on issues ranging from dementia to public health.18
  19. 19. SOciaL grOWTH06/Promote a senseof belongingand communityempowermentWe feel socially wealthy only if we believe civil society support. The aim is to build athat our voice will be heard. When partnership between public services andresidents are alienated from where they local groups in ways which encouragelive because of the behaviour of public residents to get to know their neighbours.agencies, the quality of the environment, One set of activities involves engagingor because they are intimidated by the elderly residents in community parentingbehaviour of a minority in their community, activities. We believe activities like thesethen they are likely to feel poor even if their can do more to help local people thanincome is rising. expensive public sector provision, such as regular social services visits.Empowerment matters both at the verypersonal level and for communities as a Our research has shown that peoplewhole. Knowing that there is someone who are very sensitive to the feedback theycan get help in difficult times or simply receive from their environment – they areknowing your neighbours well enough very perceptive to the signals that theyso that they can give day-to-day support, are welcome or appreciated. The Futuresuch as taking in parcels or holding a communities programme is testing a rangespare set of house keys, helps people feel of models in new housing developments,that they belong. We think that there are to ensure that the housing estates beingmany simple, and relatively inexpensive, built now don’t become sinks in the future.steps that help build these social We’re exploring options for promotingconnections - from organising community belonging in Lozells (Birmingham),festivals to giving new parents contact Barking riverside (London) and in Malmöemails of other new parents in their area (Sweden). They range from better physical(as practiced in Denmark). These kinds of design to promote neighbourliness andlinks often matter most for the elderly and safety and institutional innovations like thefor young people. in Wiltshire, for example, establishment of large-scale communitywe are working on an estate in Salisbury Land Trusts to ways of using universalto rapidly redesign expensive statutory access to the internet and mobilesupport service for chaotic families and applications to foster better relationsturn them into leaner services funded by between neighbours.the public sector but matched by local 19
  20. 20. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiONTo feel empowered and that you belong which claimed that bigger scale wouldit’s also important to have governance achieve efficiencies. There was neverstructures that allow you to exercise real any serious evidence to support thisvoice and influence on the issues that claim, and international experiencematter most (see box 8). The units of shows that very competent, and engaged,British local government are unusually local governments (and indeed nationallarge by international standards, partly governments) can exist at very differentthanks to repeated reorganisations scales. box 8 getting people to govern their own neighbourhoods Communities of place continue to matter to people. Most of the public services which people use regularly are delivered in the local community, regardless of whether they are organised centrally by public agencies. Most children go to school in or very near where they live. People will always prefer to interact with a local GP than a faceless hospital ward. And communities of place play a fundamental role in people’s sense of belonging and in this way are critical to their wellbeing. But even so, people are largely disconnected from local politics and decision- making. Barely a third feel that they can influence decisions in the area where they live. The reasons for this are complex. Through our research we have shown that decision-making feels too distant to be relevant to people’s everyday lives. We have also demonstrated that there are only limited meaningful opportunities for people to influence decisions and shape local services (rather than be consulted on pre-determined options). Local governance structures are too complex and bureaucratic for many people to understand how and where they can make a difference. The Young Foundation has proposed a number of measures which we think could further push power towards the people who make up our communities of place. First these include powers to act on very local issues, like tackling problems with public spaces, incivility and grime that are often seen by councils as “too small” to deal with. Second, there are powers to influence decisions about other local services like street cleaning, waste disposal, recycling and youth services, as well as more strategic services like health and education. This means rethinking consultation to enable residents to express needs and local issues before services are designed, rather than consulting after the fact. And finally there need to be powers to call to account and publicly challenge public agencies and decision-makers, such as the police and planners. This includes making it easy for residents to help in the performance management of contracts should they wish. We have tested and piloted these powers through community inquiries, community taskforces, and hyper-local community media such as citizen reporting and local websites.20
  21. 21. SOciaL grOWTH07/Grow a newgenerationof local leadersOne of the main lessons of recent We strongly believe in growing this field.regeneration projects has been that many anyone who spends time with dynamicareas of the UK suffer from a serious young leaders in communities comes awaydeficit of leadership. The role played by the with their optimism restored. But oftenpolitical parties, churches and trade unions the most energetic young people lackin developing young leaders has atrophied. some of the key skills and contacts to getThe space has sometimes been filled things done. The Youth Leadership Fund,by extremist organisations. More often it managed by The Young Foundation, hashas left behind just apathy and anger. supported 37 organisations. it identifies, develops and expands youth-led projectsin 2007, we created Uprising, a which help the most disadvantaged 13programme which aims to respond to 19 year olds access the training andto this serious deficit of effective and support which can help them becomerepresentative leaders in many parts of active citizens. Over 1,200 young peopleBritain (see box 9).37 Uprising is now in have benefitted from a diverse range ofits third year in London, preparing an projects, from an urban dance schoolextraordinary group of young people to which builds confidence and developsbecome leaders, through a combination of management skills (TruStreet Dancetraining, mentoring and learning-by-doing academy) to a national environmentalthrough community campaigns. The model awareness programme developed and runaims to synthesise the best of parallel by young people managed in collaborationapproaches, from formal leadership with the campaign for National Parks.programmes to community organising, andis now being scaled to other cities.There are other excellent leadershipprogrammes – such as citizens UK,38Peacemakers in Oldham,39 clore,40common Purpose and the School forSocial Entrepreneurs41 which for overa decade has pioneered a new way ofgrowing dynamic community leaders. 21
  22. 22. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiON box 9 uprising The Young Foundation’s UpRising programme is focused in the East London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Tower Hamlets and will be launched in Birmingham this year. UpRising works with talented young people, aged 19-25, equipping them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to transform their communities for the better. The programme is driven by learning through experience. In addition to the regular training sessions, the UpRisers see how the levers of power work behind the scenes in Parliament, government departments and the media. They test their new skills by running their own local campaigns. UpRisers receive one-to-one support and are each paired with a personal mentor - young public leaders who can offer support, advice and guidance throughout. Three years on, UpRisers have launched anti-BNP campaigns, become school governors, sit on grants committees and have successfully pushed for changes in legislation.22
  23. 23. SOciaL grOWTH08/The economy needsto be part of theBig SocietyOne of the oddest features of the many to the growth of new types of businessspeeches about the Big Society is how little organisation, such as community interestthey have mentioned the economy, despite companies. around the world, a widecoinciding with the deepest financial range of new economic models areand economic crisis in living memory. thriving, combining economic and socialMany have attributed some of the depth objectives.42 all of these go far beyond theof the crisis to the detachment of finance relatively modest activities often describedand the economy from society: excessive as ‘corporate social responsibility’.risk-taking; financial models that were farremoved from any real economic activity; The government has many tools at itsand a loss of moral compass in large parts disposal to apply ‘Big Society’ thinkingof the financial sector all played their part. to the economy, particularly in financeMany of us, in the UK and around the given its stake in the banks. The recentworld, will be paying a very high price for carnegie inquiry on the Future of civilthese mistakes for many years to come. Society (see box 10) included a range of detailed recommendations for banks,The dramatic failure of some parts of financial institutions and the role of civilthe economy has highlighted the relative society’s own assets (which amount tostrength and resilience of those parts of around £200bn).43 However so far thethe economy which are more rooted in government has remained largely silent onsociety. These include the mutualised the economic dimension of the Big of the financial sector (the privatisedbuilding societies did far worse than thosethat remained mutual). The cooperativesector is thriving as are social recent decades civil society hasincreasingly focused on making theeconomy more socially aware and moresocially integrated. This has happenedpartly thanks to pressure from lobbygroups, partly thanks to new types ofstandard and branding (such as theFair Trade movement) and partly thanks 23
  24. 24. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiON box 10 making good society The independent Commission of Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society (supported by the Carnegie Trust) brought together leading figures from across the voluntary sector, business, politics, the media and faith. Its report, published in the spring of 2010, advocated a major shift of power and responsibility to civil society. The inquiry focused in particular on how to: • Grow a more civil economy • Enable a rapid and just transition to a low carbon economy • Democratise media ownership and content • Grow participatory and deliberative democracy In each field detailed recommendations were made. The inquiry drew on hundreds of events across the UK and Ireland, input from an international advisory group and original research.24
  25. 25. SOciaL grOWTH09/Think and learngloballyMost of the big issues facing the UK are partnerships across the boundaries ofnot unique. Other countries face very the public, private and voluntary sectors.similar challenges: ageing, inequality, SiX now provides hundreds of casecrime and climate change. But traditionally studies and practical tools to help peoplewe have not been good at learning, accelerate social change.45particularly from countries that do nothave English as their first language. The UK has a strong message to tell the rest of the world about how a vigorous civilJust as economic growth depends on our society can invent, act and campaign. Weappetite to adopt the best manufacturing also have a lot to learn, and not just, as inmethods or technologies wherever the past, from the English-speaking world.they are, social growth requires us to The Big Society needs wide horizons if it isbe hungry to learn from the best ideas to succeed.across the world. in the same way thatinstitutions exist to promote rapid learningin the economy and technology, we needsomething comparable in the social field.Four years ago the Young Foundation anda group of partners from around the worldset up the Social innovation Exchange(SiX) to fill this gap. SiX now runs eventsall over the world with thousands ofmember organisations and individual socialentrepreneurs and community activists.SiX has also engaged many governmentsaround the world – including the Presidentof Portugal, the President of the Europeancommission, senior ministers in chinaand Brazil and leading advisers in theWhite House, as well as global foundationssuch as rockefeller and gulbenkian,and companies like Philips and cisco.44Much is being learned about how to makesystems innovative, including creative 25
  26. 26. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiON10/Measure social growthand make the keyindicators part of thenational conversationgovernments naturally want to know what care, analysing the full range of impactsis working and what is not. That is why from health gains to employment, as wellany programme for social growth needs as assessing cash savings. We think ittools to measure its success (as well as has much wider application across publicfailures). Over the last few years the world’s services and could help to usher in a morestatisticians have been working hard to sophisticated relationship between publicbetter measure social growth and social services and civil society.49progress.46 in France, the Stiglitz reportcommissioned by President Sarkozy The third priority is to change the nature ofproposed adapting gDP to better reflect the the national debate. in the light of criticismstrue value of economic and other activities.47 about diffuseness, measurement will be a key part of making any Big SocietyWe see three main priorities for the UK. programme more precise. We believe thatThe first is the need to make sense of what government should develop 3-4 indicatorsis happening within localities – to map of social wealth and monitor these moretheir needs but also their strengths and regularly and on a larger scale, as they docapacities. The Young Foundation has with key economic indicators. The key onesdeveloped a comprehensive measurement could include:method in collaboration with centralgovernment, the Office for National Statistics y Measures of social connectedness (inand local authorities called WarM – the ‘Sinking and Swimming’ we set out manyWellbeing and resilience Measurement. measures such as how many friends andThis is now being piloted in a number of family people can turn to for support andareas, including Birmingham and Salisbury, encouragement).building on our work to understand y Measures of social capital (there arechanging needs (see box 11).48 various competing alternatives such as how much we trust others or how manyThe second priority is to be able to assess people in a neighbourhood help eachinnovative projects and social enterprises. other)For the health services we have developed y Measures of influence (whether peoplethe i5 tool which measures social impact. feel that they can influence decisionsThis is being used to assess funding for in their communities or whether theyinnovative projects in health and social participate in politics)26
  27. 27. SOciaL grOWTHy Measures of collective efficacy (whether The government has set out its plans for people are willing or feel able to help deficit reduction but not for harm reduction each other out when things go wrong) – it lacks reliable tools for judging whichy Measures of wellbeing (primarily, asking cuts will do least long-term damage to people how satisfied they are with their society. Nearly two years ago David cameron lives). suggested that the Treasury should apply a social value test to public spending: weincreasingly these measures should believe that this is more urgent than ever,become part of national debate, reported and that variants of the tools described inon the TV news in the same way as this section provide part of the answer.economic indicators. box 11 wellbeing and resilience measurement (warm) WARM is a new tool to help communities understand their underlying needs and capacities. It brings together a wide range of indicators to measure wellbeing (how people feel about themselves and their communities) and resilience (the capacity of people and communities to bounce back after shock or in the face of adversity). WARM captures both a community’s assets, including levels of social capital, good schools and public services, or high educational achievement; as well as vulnerabilities, including levels of depression and unemployment. Unlike conventional ‘deficit’ models which assess what is needed in a community and focus solely on what is wrong (factors like crime or homelessness), WARM also captures what is going well. The focus is on subjective as well as objective data. WARM combines measurements of social capital – assessing the strength of local relationships - with how people feel: whether they belong in an area, psychological wellbeing. It also captures the availability of services and quality of infrastructure. The WARM framework does not require additional data collection. Instead, it enables communities and agencies to use existing data to build a fresh understanding of local neighbourhoods. The approach is not traditional performance measurement. Rather than offering a way of comparing performance and needs between local authorities or neighbourhoods, our framework lets communities explore the detail of what goes on in their area, looking at the experiences of different groups. WARM can isolate which communities within an area are faring well and which are struggling. It can also pinpoint the ‘hotspots’ of wellbeing and resilience, as well as the areas where people are most under strain. At a time of scarce resources, WARM helps agencies understand where investment is most needed, and guides them through the difficult decisions of where to disinvest. The conclusions of the WARM analysis are likely to point agencies towards a greater emphasis on services that help people build social networks and reduce isolation, alongside more traditional support for families and children, and to help people find and keep work. 27
  28. 28. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiONConclusion: their funding for civil society. innovationthe big risks to develop better models for the future is being squeezed right back. Yet in business the most successful organisations maintain investment in research and development even duringa political programme that focuses on the hardest times. Without tangiblecivic action brings with it many risks. Some commitments to innovation as part ofare obvious: the public may well see it as debt reduction, the risk is that fiscalcynical, a cover for cuts. The people who consolidation will lead to service stagnationare already active in communities may and a more disempowered public.resent government appearing to claimtheir work as its own. it could appear too We’ve advocated in the past that aparty political. and it could end up as little minimum of 1 per cent of public budgetsmore than a label for a smattering of useful should be invested in innovations thatvolunteering initiatives that would probably could deliver significantly higher impacthave happened anyway. and productivity – and we believe that this matters even more during a period ofThere are also subtler risks. One is austerity.50excessive haste – most useful thingsat the level of communities take time. if we are lucky, economic growth will pickgovernment shouldn’t push forward a up over the next few years. But at a timetorrent of initiatives, all short-term without of severe cuts in public spending the riskfollow through. Nor should government of a decline in social wealth is real. asuse overly blunt instruments, talking services shrink, people may turn inwards,about community engagement while at to fatalism and resentment. There’s athe same time acting in heavy-handed risk of divisions becoming more acute,and centrist ways. People will look at what particularly in poorer areas. a serious,government does, not what it says. Too hard-headed programme to support socialmuch complexity saps the energies of the growth will be needed even more than invery people and organisations with the the boom years.most to offer. The Big Society may have begun asBut the most immediate risk at a time of a slogan rather than a philosophy orsevere fiscal constraint is that government governing programme. But it has thewill cut the promising future not the potential to evolve into something moreineffective past. These are the moments serious – the test will be whether over thewhen the easy thing for governments to do next 6-12 months government beginsis to cut what comes from the grassroots – to complement its already announcedand concentrate resources on incumbents initiatives with action on the various frontsand powerful vested interests. This is described above. if it does the cynicismalready happening within departments and scepticism may be dispelled.and agencies – those facing cuts of15-25% are planning cuts of 30-50% in28
  29. 29. SOciaL grOWTH 29
  30. 30. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiON1. These are not new ideas; they have a very long 17. Loder J, Mulgan g, reeder N and Shelupanov history. interestingly David cameron briefly a Financing Social Value” implementing Social used the concept. See David cameron (2006), impact Bonds. This paper was published in chamberlain lecture on communities, speech early 2008 and revised in 2010. available at by the rt Hon David cameron MP, London, 14 July. SiB_paper_Jan_10_final.pdf2. Bacon N, Brophy M, Mguni N, Mulgan g and 18. Shandro a (2010) The state of happiness: can 19. Mulgan g, and Kohli J (2010) Scaling new public policy shape people’s wellbeing and heights Washington: centre for american resilience? London: the Young Foundation. Progress and the Young Foundation. This is one3. The Young Foundation was launched in 2005/6 of two reports on supporting innovation, aimed out of the merger of the institute for community at US audiences, which was launched by Studies and the Mutual aid centre. caP President John Podesta and rockefeller4. The Young Foundation (2009) Sinking and President Judith rodin in July 2010. it includes Swimming: understanding Britain’s unmet a series of recommendations on how the US needs London: the Young Foundation federal government could better support the5. cordes c, Hothi M and Woodcraft S (2010) The scaling of high impact social innovations. end of regeneration? improving what matters 20. The idea of a Social Enterprise Mutual was on small housing estates London: the Young proposed by the Young Foundation in 2008 Foundation. in work undertaken for the Office of the Third6. cordes c, Savage V and Norman W (2009) Sector. The Social investment Business took Meet the Parents: stories of teenage pregnancy the idea up for bidding for welfare-to-work and parenthood in Lewisham London: the contracts. Young Foundation. 21. www.learninglaunchpad.org7. Savage V, cordes c, Keenaghan-clark L and 22. O’Sullivan c (2010) Public Services and civil 23. Society Working Together London: the Young 24. Learning Launchpad received its main funding Foundation. from the Edge Foundation; Health Launchpad8. Woodcraft S (2010) The Local revolution: received its main support from NESTa. in both citizen engagement and accountability London: cases individual projects have raised the bulk the Young Foundation. of their finance from a wide range of other9. sources.10. 25. www.maslaha.org11. Hothi M (2010) Listen, Participate, Transform: 26. See a social media framework for local government ventures-and-investment/health-launchpad/ London: the Young Foundation. portfolio/portfolio12. ‘it’s buggered mate’ site 27. in australia is a successful replica of the model, 28. see: http://its-buggered-mate.apps.lpmodules. 29. com 30. www.thinkpublic.com13. See Http:// for the 31. Local 2.0 blog. 32. See ventures-and-investment/health-launchpad/15. seir/seir16. Faro c (2007) Funding for the Third Sector: 33. See future challenges unpublished PowerPoint for home/tenants/social-innovation-camp the Young Foundation.30
  31. 31. SOciaL grOWTH34. Savage V, cordes c, Keenaghan-clark L and 50. Mulgan g, and Kohli J (2010) Scaling new O’Sullivan c (2010) Public Services and civil heights Washington: centre for american Society Working Together London: the Young Progress and the Young Foundation. Foundation.35. Bacon N, Faizullah N, Mulgan g and Woodcraft S (2008) Transformers: How local areas innovate to address changing social needs London: the Young Foundation. This includes a detailed SNa of a local authority and its relationships.36. Bacon N (2009) The local revolution: citizen engagement and accountability London: the Young Foundation.37. www.citizensuk.org39. Many of these are described in Social Venturing and The Open Book of Social innovation, Young Foundation/NESTa, 2010.43. www.futuresforcivilsociety.org44. www.socialinnovationexchange.org45. The Open Book of Social innovation, Young Foundation/NESTa, 2010.46. Mulgan g (2009) New Measures, new policies: the democracy of numbers London: the Young Foundation.47. Stiglitz J, Sen a and Fitoussi J (2009) report by the commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress France: commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress.48. Bacon N and Mguni N (2010 forthcoming) WarM – wellbeing and resilience measurement: taking the temperature of local communities London: the Young Foundation.49. reeder N and Hewes S (2010) Valuing service innovation in health London: Young Foundation. available at: our-work/advising-public-service-innovation/ health-metrics/health-metrics. a recent article by geoff Mulgan in the current issue Stanford Social innovation review sets out in more detail how social impact should and shouldn’t be measured. 31
  32. 32. Printed by Formara on 9lives Offset paper (FSc certified 100% recycled fibre) using vegetable inks.cover design David carroll & co. Designed and typeset by Effusion.
  33. 33. THE YOUNg FOUNDaTiONFew would dispute that in the years ahead government will be able to doless, and society will have to do more. The big Society has been promoted bygovernment as a framework for thinking about how this might happen. As anidea it has been much criticised both for vagueness and for diverting attentionfrom spending cuts.This report sets out how it could be made more tangible and useful. The tenpoint plan draws on dozens of practical examples that the Young Foundationand others have developed in fields ranging from community organising to jobs,social enterprise to data management. The report warns of the gap betweenthe ambition of the big Society and the modest proposals currently associatedwith it, and of the risk that cuts will fall most heavily on innovative socialenterprises and small grassroots organisations rather than big public or privateones. It shows how government can develop better tools for judging the socialvalue of public programmes and spending, to reduce the harm associated withdeficit reduction. Finally, it recommends a sharper focus on social wealth andsocial growth to make it easier to judge, and measure, whether the policiesassociated with the big Society are having any real impact.36