A couple of views on the Big Society
Two commentators have made some interesting points on the Big Society in the last couple of days, which I thought I’d share here. Sheffield-based regeneration writer Julian Dobson blogs about the Incredible Edible Todmorden project, which features in a book published today on what’s termed the ‘Civic Economy’ and demonstrates everything the Government wants to the Big Society/small state formula to be.
Meanwhile, policy heavyweight Matthew Taylor blogs about the tensions between state and individual models for action, or supporting community initiatives versus the ‘rampant statism’ which is seen to stifle such activity.
Evidence suggests that most ordinary people don’t understand the Big Society or – worse – see it as cover for cuts. If this is to change, those responsible for delivering it need to be clear about the vision and frame it in ways that people understand.
Bottom up sweet spots for the Big Society – Matthew Taylor’s blog
Taylor writes about examples of the commercialisation of the Big Society, where businesses get involved in activity that benefits customers. He calls this area of action ‘the sweet spot’. Others may see it as rebranded Corporate Social Responsibilty (CSR), which has been around for years and is proved to be beneficial to businesses that do it properly. Scepticism aside, this is what good business and the Big Society should be about.
‘The Big Society debate must move on’ – Matthew Taylor’s blog
RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor gives his reaction to The Times’ coverage of the perceived threat to the Government’s Big Society vision today. His opinion appears to be that the project is too all-embracing to take root: “The ideas of the Big Society can’t change the world overnight, and anyone with any sense recognises the challenges of taking the idea forward in a time of public sector austerity. But as long as the Big Society continues to be everything, it is in danger of becoming nothing.”
Comments underneath the post, from Julian Dobson among others, are worthy too.
Cities outlook 2011 – Centre for Cities
Centre for Cities annual index, Cities Outlook 2011, made the headlines today with its report highlighting the areas it believed will fare well (and badly) in the face of recession. It may not come as a surprise to know the cities who have scored well in the index (including Milton Keynes, Reading, Aberdeen, Leeds and Bristol) compared to those who hadn’t. But there are interesting snippets for opinion leaders and policy makers as to what makes a ‘reslient’ local economy. And if you’re into ‘league table’ stories, it’s got everything you need.