Big Society

Topics: Local government, Civil society, Civil service Pages: 3 (842 words) Published: May 19, 2013

'We are the big society'
(Local government: 18/06/12) "We are the big society. And we have to make sure there is another meaning to community challenge - and that we fight this in every way that we can."

That was the message from UNISON's local government conference this afternoon, as delegates debated the Localism Act and how to defend members' terms and conditions.

Moving the motion on behalf of the national LGBT committee, Jackie Lewis sais everyone should be quite clear that the talk of 'localism' was merely a tactic to "open the door to privatisation".

And she warned that: "This government is hell-bent on forcing the privatisation of all government services," urging branches to scrutinise the way in which "councils deal with expressions of interest" very carefully.

Julie Robinson for the service group executive emphasised that right to challenge "is no more than a Trojan horse to provide entrance to local services for large companies", that it "opens door to a full procurement exercise".

And she stressed the negative impact on equalities of all sorts of groups being able to run services, with "faith organisations, often hostile to LGBT people, able to discriminate".

Conference agreed a series of measures on continued campaigning around the issue and lobbying the government to ensure that workers are protected.

Big society is failing: savaged by cuts and undermined by a collapse in trust in the government's flagship social policy by the very people expected to cheerlead for it and drive it forward.

The first category is community empowerment.
• 5,000 Community Organisers will be trained by 2015
• 115 senior Organisers are already in post
• Community First programme launched, providing: 
• £30m Neighbourhood Match Fund to support social action in the some of the most deprived areas of the country; • £50m Endowment Match Challenge, creating local...
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