The Big Society Project

Topics: Government, Local government Pages: 5 (1996 words) Published: April 20, 2012
The ‘Big Society’ project has been a failure to date, discuss.

The aim of the ‘Big Society’ project is to empower volunteers, charities and communities to provide services traditionally provided by the state (Sanghera 2011). The reason that the ‘Big Society’ is of academic interest is because this project could help to retain services which may otherwise be lost in this economic climate, also it is of interest because this project would change the public sector as the government are empowering local communities to gain more control over public services meaning control is given to these volunteers. The way this essay will be structured is firstly it will explain in a few sentences what the big society project is all about. It will then go on to explaining why the project has been a failure to date, then it will go on to some of the good things that have come out of the ‘Big Society’ project, then finally coming to a conclusion that the Big Society project has been a failure and the reasons for this which are lack of understanding by local communities, people not wanting to give up their free time, and the funding cuts made from other voluntary organisations. The Big Society projects aim is to take power, responsibility and decision making from the state and giving it to individuals, neighbourhoods or the lowest possible tier of government (Evans 2011). Also (Evans 2011) states that the ‘Big Society’ is a response to the claim that we are living in ‘Broken Britain’ and that this project aims to mend this by reducing the costs of the overspending public sector. There are many things which can account to the ‘Big Society’ being a failure. (Syal R 2011) states the ‘Big Society project lacks clarity and leadership’ which is causing confusion meaning that people are not interested in taking part as they do not understand what the ‘Big Society’ actually is causing the project to fail. This is a factor contributing to its failure because there is no understanding about it, people do not know how they could be helping out with their local communities, if it was explained in more detail more people may be interested in volunteering. Another reason to why the Big Society project has been a failure is because there are barriers for people giving their time to be able to come and help out in these projects. As stated by (Asthana and Kishwari 2011) time pressures, more woman going out to work, changing communities and a decline of people having a sense of belonging in their community has all led to people not being able to give up their time in order to volunteer. As well as people not having any time to help out due to working their own working hours people may also believe that the people who are not working should be the people who help out in this Big Society project as they have spare time and may also believe that why should they give up their limited spare time when there are others that have a lot more of it which could go to good use in this ‘Big Society’ project. One major change in the public sector has been that spending has been cut from other organisations in order to achieve more available funding for the ‘Big Society’ project. This could have an effect on these other organisations as people may feel that these other voluntary organisations are being pushed to the side making the volunteers less motivated to want to continue volunteering. (Golding, N 2011) states that ‘voluntary sectors expect to suffer’ and that ‘two thirds have already seen funding cuts and four fifths expect job cuts’. This is not good for anyone who is involved in this voluntary sector. (Vakos, N 2011) Also states that it will be difficult to provide more services without any extra funding. (Dunning and Prichard 2011) questions also whether or not organisations can afford to take on extra work above the levels that they already provide without extra funding as having less funding and more work to do means people are stretched above their...

References: Dunning, J. Pritchard, J (2010) Big Society’s Eap of Faith, Community Care Issue 1835. p. 1-19
Evans, K (2011) ‘Big Society’ in the UK, a policy review
Golding, N (2011) Big Society and Woolly Aspiration, Community Care Issue 1848
Hudson, B (2011) Big society: a concept in pursuit of a definition
Sloamn J. (2011) Rebooting Democracy: Youth Participation in Politics in the UK. Parliamentary Affairs 2007; 60:548-67. 
Syal R (2011) No one knows what the ‘Big Society’ is says MPs
Vakos, N (2011) Big Society- but no big strategy? Community Care Issue 1
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