Presentation on theme: "Big Society Overview KCC Member Avtar Sandhu MBE Kent County Council – Dartford North East."— Presentation transcript:
Big Society Overview KCC Member Avtar Sandhu MBE Kent County Council – Dartford North East
What is meant by the ‘Big Society’? David Cameron has said that the Big Society is “something I would like to be one of the great legacies of this Government”. “Where people…don’t always turn to officials, local authorities or central Government for answers to the problems they face…but instead feel both free and powerful enough to help themselves and their own communities”.
Public service reform: public services being run by mutuals, co-operatives, charities and social enterprises. These same organisations will also be encouraged to tackle deep-rooted social issues; Communities will also be given new laws to bid to run local ‘state-run’ services threatened with closure; & Civic action/Community empowerment: an encouragement on the individual to become more civic minded. For example, through philanthropy; volunteering in public services; getting involved in local ‘democracy’ - for example groups that influence where community buildings might be located etc. There are essentially two strands to the Big Society agenda:
The Coalition Government has divided this into three themes: Fostering voluntary and community groups Encouraging every adult to be a member of an active neighbourhood group; Pilot a National Citizen Service for 16 year-olds encouraging them to get involved in their communities; Mutual’s, co-operatives, charities and social enterprises will be encouraged to run public services; Communities will also be encouraged to take over state run services, particularly those threatened with closure; Employees will also be encouraged to form worker owned co-operatives; A social investment bank (the 'Big Society Bank') will be created and partly funded from unclaimed bank assets to give start-up monies to social enterprises so that they can bid for Government contracts. The funds will be invested via existing financial intermediaries like social investors and community lenders. The target is to establish the Bank by April 2011.
Openness with regard data There will also be a drive to be open regarding public data (the transparency agenda) and there will be a new 'right to data'. Devolution to the local level The rhetoric of the Big Society will be partly achieved through the Decentralisation and Localism Bill (to be published in the autumn) and there is a pledge to devolve down to the most appropriate local level i.e. ‘subsidiarity’. But this is not just about doing things through LAs but via “communities, neighbourhoods and individuals”.
Big Society also runs through the major initiatives of the coalition Government: Education - the direction of travel already indicates that a form of subsidiarity is starting to happen with the re- casting of the Academy programme and ‘free schools’ being part of this agenda; Police - The public “taking part in joint patrols”; as “Community Crime Fighters”; or as “special constables and explore new ideas to help unlock the potential of police volunteers in the workforce, for example as police ‘reservists’” and greater involvement of the police with the voluntary sector.
Kent County Council’s three ambitions Ambition 1: For Kent to be ‘open for business’ with a growing, prosperous economy and jobs for all Ambition 2: For no one in Kent to be disadvantaged because of where they live and all have confidence in public services Ambition 3: For Kent residents to be responsible citizens, taking pride in making themselves, their families and communities healthy, safe and strong
The ‘Time2Give’ initiative is managed by Community Service Volunteers (CSV) for Kent Libraries and Archives. This is a Big Society example in all but name. In 08/09 they placed 262 volunteers and in total they had 13142 volunteering hours. This is unique nationally and has been runner-up in the 2008 ‘Libraries Change Lives’ awards.Libraries Change Lives
Clean Kent Function sits within KCC Waste Management and was launched in May 2004: Clean Kent enables individuals, groups or organisations to take charge in cleaning up their local communities. It provides equipment, risk assessments, volunteer briefings and insurance, and works with Districts to dispose of waste at the end of the clean-up; Clean Kent Watch is a volunteering project which has established a network of neighbourhood volunteers to provide grass roots information on flytipping, abandoned vehicles and rubbish fires. Volunteers make reports to KCC's Contact Centre which operates 24 hours a day.
Moving forward… a vision for the Big Society in Kent Could the Big Society facilitate different ways of delivering services in Kent? David Cameron has used examples of the types of public services that could be taken over by alternative providers, for example - the running of parks, libraries and post offices. What roles will County, District; Town and Parish councils play? Could some services be devolved down to the most appropriate level of Government? What role will the Voluntary/Community Sector play? What role will the individual play?