Dormant asset cash used to relaunch Big Society

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Despite lack of support for the sector, Conservative ministers wants charities more involved in public services 

9th August 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Tory ministers have relaunched a strategy for big society in a bid to encourage charities to become more involved with public services.

The strategy was first launched by David Cameron’s government in 2010 but failed to live up to its promises, leading to widespread criticism of the way it was handled. 

It has now been rekindled by Theresa May’s government with a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport paper promising £165 million in funds. These will be taken from dormant bank accounts and charitable trusts to support community foundations, according to the strategy document.  

The UK government says it wants to break down the barriers between public and third sector making it easier for charities to run services to help local authorities cope with ongoing funding challenges.  

Jeremy Wright, and the civil society minister, Tracey Crouch, write in the foreword: “Big societal challenges, including the future of social care, community integration, and housing, are being tackled through solutions that bring together public services, businesses, and communities.

“New providers are taking responsibility for youth services, domestic abuse services, addiction services, and offender rehabilitation services. New models are developing for funding and running libraries as well as children’s services.”

Charities remain sceptical despite the funding being made available. Many believe the Tory government has failed to support the sector financially and even tried to silence the sector via the lobbying act – also known as the gagging clause.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: “The strategy is an encouraging start, carrying a strong recognition of the role that civil society plays in tackling some of today’s greatest challenges, and of the need to ensure its involvement in developing new solutions.

“The real test will be embedding the strategy’s aspirations across government, ensuring expert charities are truly involved in policymaking, and that procurement processes work as well for smaller charities as they do for big outsourcing companies.”