Conservative Manifesto 2010 Change Society Build The Big Society
We will use the state to help stimulate social action, helping social enterprises to deliver public services and training new community organisers to help achieve our ambition of every adult citizen being a member of an active neighbourhood group. We will direct funding to those groups that strengthen communities in deprived areas, and we will introduce National Citizen Service, initially for 16 year olds, to help bring our country together.
the size, scope and role of government in the UK has reached a point where it is now inhibiting, not advancing, the progressive aims of reducing poverty, fighting inequality, and increasing general well-being. We can’t go on pretending that government has all the answers.
our alternative to big government is the big Society: a society with much higher levels of personal, professional, civic and corporate responsibility; a society where people come together to solve problems and improve life for themselves and their communities; a society where the leading force for progress is social responsibility, not state control.
the big Society runs consistently through our policy programme. our plans to reform public services, mend our broken society, and rebuild trust in politics are all part of our big Society agenda. these plans involve redistributing power from the state to society; from the centre to local communities, giving people the opportunity to take more control over their lives.
but we recognise that it is not enough to create opportunities for people to get involved in building the big Society; our reform plans require a social response in order to be successful. So building the big Society is not just a question of the state stepping back and hoping for the best: it will require an active role for the state. the state must take action to agitate for, catalyse and galvanise social renewal. We must use the state to help remake society.
Public service reform
our public service reform programme will enable social enterprises, charities and voluntary groups to play a leading role in delivering public services and tackling deep-rooted social problems.
We will strengthen and support social enterprises to help deliver our public service reforms by creating a big Society bank, funded from unclaimed bank assets, to provide new finance for neighbourhood groups, charities, social enterprises and other nongovernmental bodies.
this will provide social enterprises with the start-up funding and support they need to bid for government contracts or work towards delivering services under a payment by results model.
britain has a proud and long-standing charitable tradition, and we are convinced that the voluntary sector should play a major part in our civic renewal. We will introduce a fair deal on grants to give voluntary sector organisations more stability and allow them to earn a competitive return for providing public services. We will work with local authorities to promote the delivery of public services by social enterprises, charities and the voluntary sector.
neighbourhood groups our reform agenda is designed to empower communities to come together to address local issues. For example, we will enable parents to start new schools, empower communities to take over local amenities such as parks and libraries that are under threat, give neighbourhoods greater control of the planning system, and enable residents to hold the police to account in neighbourhood beat meetings. these policies will give new powers and rights to neighbourhood groups: the ‘little platoons’ of civil society – and the institutional building blocks of the big Society.
our ambition is for every adult in the country to be a member of an active neighbourhood group. We will stimulate the creation and development of neighbourhood groups, which can take action to improve their local area. We will use Cabinet Office budgets to fund the training of independent community organisers to help people establish and run neighbourhood groups, and provide neighbourhood grants to the UK’s poorest areas to ensure they play a leading role in the rebuilding of civic society.
to stimulate social action further, we will:
• transform the civil service into a ‘civic service’ by making sure that participation in social action is recognised in civil servants’ appraisals;
• launch an annual big Society Day to celebrate the work of neighbourhood groups and encourage more people to take part in social action;
• provide funding from the big Society bank to intermediary bodies with a track record of supporting and growing social enterprises; and,
• develop a measure of well-being that encapsulates the social value of state action.
national Citizen Service
building the big Society means encouraging the concept of public-spirited service – the idea that everyone should play a part in making their communities stronger.
that is why we will introduce national Citizen Service. The initial flagship project will provide a programme for 16 year olds to give them a chance to develop the skills needed to be active and responsible citizens, mix with people from different backgrounds, and start getting involved in their communities.
Even in these difficult times, the British people have demonstrated their desire to give money and time to good causes. We will introduce new ways to increase philanthropy, and use the latest insights from behavioural economics to encourage people to make volunteering and community participation something they do on a regular basis.
the national Lottery
We will restore the national Lottery to its original purpose and, by cutting down on administration costs, make sure more money goes to good causes. the big Lottery fund will focus purely on supporting social action through the voluntary and community sector, instead of ministers’ pet projects as at present. Sports, heritage and the arts will each see their original allocations of 20 per cent of good cause money restored.
Sport and the olympics
We will deliver a successful olympics that brings lasting benefits for the country as a whole. Part of the community sports budget of the national Lottery will be responsible for delivering an olympic legacy, including the vigorous promotion of competitive sports through a national olympic-style school competition. to support high-level sport further, we will:
• work with the Scottish government to deliver a top-quality Commonwealth games in glasgow in 2014;
• ensure that the 2013 rugby League and the 2015 rugby Union World Cups are successful; and,
• strongly support england’s bid to host the 2018 football World Cup.
“i went to a ‘Cameron Direct’ meeting in our local town hall where David Cameron answered questions from members of the public – and one thing he said that really took hold with me was that he wanted britain to be one of the most family-friendly countries… i think that’s just a great outlook to have – how brilliant would it be if we could achieve that? i think that the tories have some great ideas and i believe that their policies on family, especially on flexible working, are the best thing for my future and for my children’s future.”
Julie Fallon lives in Llandudno, Wales, with her husband and two children
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