Sunday, February 13, 2011

Three short ways of Defining The Big Society

As 'The Big Society' seems to be dominating our airwaves at the moment - with much discussion as to its meaning, I thought I would offer my own three pennies worth:

1.  The Big Society says social capital - the glue that strengthens community - and binds communities together - is as important as economic capital.  You can't have one without the other.  Capitalism works best with strong communities.

2.  The Big Society believes that people power is as effective - if not more effective - than state power.  This means devolving power down to individuals to make decisions.  Lower taxes give individuals more economic power, direct political devolution to individuals and communities means more social power.

3.  The Big Society gives as much impetus to social entrepreneurs - those who use social action to transform their communities - as it gives to economic entrepreneurs.  Social Action is as essential as economic action and it needs to be incentivised.

Today the Prime Minister set out The Big Society in more detail.  You may want to read it HERE.

by Robert Halfon -


  1. Interesting. Why if the Party / Government is so interested in the Big Society is the NHS going to have less opportunities for people (excluding GP people) to have a voice after the passing of the Health and Social Care Bill?

    Seems like an odd contradiction..?

  2. Thanks for Comment, but don't aqree. Government will give patients more choice over their patients and hospitals. Bureaucracies like SHA's will be wiped away in favour of GP Choice. There will be more Foundation Hospitals and less centralised targets. Public Health will be devolved to local authorities.

  3. I believe in the Big Society where local people have a say in there own needs hence the need for the voluntary sector to be very involved. My concerns are for the smaller charities that give so much for so little. They need a voice which until they become one of the bigger boys/girls they do not. Having an independent person with knowledge of the sector, yet able to speak for all is a must have or the Big Society will not work. I am aware that we are in the early stages and also realise change takes time if we are to do it right. I believe that the Conservatives will get it right with maybe a few teething problems & wish them every success.