The Big Society is about helping people to come together to improve their own lives. It’s about putting more power in people’s hands – a massive transfer of power from Whitehall to local communities.
There are three key parts to the Big Society agenda:
The Office for Civil Society, part of the Cabinet Office, works across government departments to translate the Big Society agenda into practical policies, provides support to voluntary and community organisations and is responsible for delivering a number of key Big Society programmes, namely:
The Government has committed to setting up a Big Society Bank to give social enterprises, charities and voluntary organisations access to greater resources. It will be set up using money from dormant bank accounts (those untouched for 15 years or more and available for spending in England) and will encourage investment in social change.
The National Citizen Service (NCS) scheme will bring 16 year olds from different backgrounds together over the summer to take part in residential and home-based activities such as outdoor challenges and local community projects.
Cabinet Office will run pilots for National Citizen Service in the summer of 2011 and 2012, involving 10,000 young people.
Over the lifetime of this parliament, the Community Organisers programme will identify, train and support 5,000 people who want to make a difference to their community. The organisers will have strong understanding of local needs and will catalyse social action.
Community First is a new fund that will encourage social action through new and existing neighbourhood groups. The fund will empower people in areas with high levels of deprivation and enable them to take more responsibility for their communities.