Investing in Social Growth: Can the Big Society be more than a slogan?

Published: September 2010 Publication Type: Publication

Authors: Geoff Mulgan , Phoebe Griffith

Few would dispute that in the years ahead government will be able to do less, and society will have to do more. The Big Society has been promoted by government as a framework for thinking about how this might happen. As an idea it has been much criticised both for vagueness and for diverting attention from spending cuts.

This report sets out how it could be made more tangible and useful. The ten point plan draws on dozens of practical examples that the Young Foundation and others have developed in fields ranging from community organising to jobs, social enterprise to data management. The report warns of the gap between the ambition of the Big Society and the modest proposals currently associated with it, and of the risk that cuts will fall most heavily on innovative social enterprises and small grassroots organisations rather than big public or private ones. It shows how government can develop better tools for judging the social value of public programmes and spending, to reduce the harm associated with deficit reduction. Finally, it recommends a sharper focus on social wealth and social growth to make it easier to judge, and measure, whether the policies associated with the Big Society are having any real impact.

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