What can Canada learn from the Big Society


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Presentation to Calgary CVO on lessons from the UK Big Society agenda

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  • Pilot areas: Sutton, Windsor and Maidenhead, Eden Valley in Cumbria and Liverpool. Pathfinder mutuals: North East Essex PCT; Integration of Community Health and Adult Social Services in Swindon into a coop. See list at http://bit.ly/axusks There is an excellent briefing by Urban Forum here: http://bit.ly/d8S0ws Something old, new, borrowed, blue
  • Big vs small is worth mentioning
  • What can Canada learn from the Big Society

    1. 1. Building a Bigger SocietyLessons for Canada from theBritish ExperienceKarl Wilding,National Council for Voluntary OrganisationsConnections 2012www.ncvo-vol.org.ukTwitter: @karlwilding
    2. 2. Structure1. Context: the Compact Years2. Post-2008/09: A short blip or the new normal?3. The Big Society: big confusion?4. Lessons for Canada: opportunities, threats, myths and realities
    3. 3. Context: the Compact years• Mainstreaming in public policy design and delivery• Significant increases in resources, esp earned income• Volunteering & giving flat• Winners and losers: ‘Tescoisation’• 2008/09: the end of the NICE decade – aka ‘Peak Funding’
    4. 4. A short blip or the new normal?New economic and political context:• Reductions in funding• Reductions in infrastructure• Dislike of campaigning• Large charities – part of the problem• OCS marginalised• Small State, Big Society
    5. 5. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. Thereare individual men and women, and there are families. Andno government can do anything except through people, andpeople must look to themselves first. Its our duty to look afterourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour.
    6. 6. The Big Society: big confusion? • de“....where people in their everyday lives...don’t always turn toofficials, local authorities or central government for answers tothe problems they face...but instead feel both free and powerfulenough to help themselves and their own communities.”
    7. 7. The Big Society: big confusion? Social Action Public Service Community Culture change to Reform Empowerment influence people’s daily choices giving professionals more neighbourhoods who feel freedom & involving new in charge of their own giving time, effort and providers like charities and destinies money to causes around social enterprises them Galvanised by the techniques of… New Decentralisation Transparency approaches to finance Source: Cabinet Office
    8. 8. Nudge…
    9. 9. Implementation: myths & realities • The Big Society is dead. Long live the Big Society… • Public understanding • Engagement and opposition: Plan B? • The State: the Zero sum game fallacy • Business: a more measured view? • The long haul
    10. 10. Lessons for Canada: risks1. Policy is neither joined-up nor informed2. Can we cut public spending and maintain capacity to grow the Big Society?3. The funding ecosystem: loss of diversity4. The gap between ‘here’ (funding) and ‘there’ (finance)5. Localism: communities of place vs interest6. Scale is an issue that will not go away7. Loss of distinctiveness and independence: why give?
    11. 11. Lessons for Canada: opportunities1. Grassroots resources: the voluntary impulse is strong2. Capacity: voluntary organisations are more resilient than a decade ago3. Resource allocation: new forms of social finance4. Giving: citizen philanthropy5. Asset transfer/sharing6. Working Wikily: new technology and open data will power social change/resources7. The ferment of ideas produced by the Big Society
    12. 12. Not the conclusion:The Militant OptimistsThe Militant Optimists