Our comments on the PASC Big Society report
We have commented today on the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC)’s report on The Big Society.
Sir Stuart Etherington, our Chief Executive, said:
‘Delivering the Big Society requires big changes at the heart of Government and across our communities – this report highlights there are still major challenges to be overcome.
‘The report rightly emphasises that while the Government has outlined some encouraging aspirations in relation to the Big Society, it needs to work with those in the voluntary and community sector to translate these into concrete and accessible opportunities. Creating a culture of social action cannot be done without the public’s buy-in.
‘The vision behind the Big Society agenda remains one that we share. It has the potential to deliver better decision making and more responsive public services. However, while there are likely to be a number of potential opportunities in the longer-term, it is impossible to separate out the “Big Society” agenda from the challenging economic environment in which we are all currently operating.
‘The report also highlights the unintended consequences of the Government’s Public Service Reform Agenda – the Work Programme shows that many smaller, more innovative, more local providers are being driven out. In tough times, Government must make it easier and not harder to gain access to these new opportunities.
‘Voluntary organisations of all shapes and sizes have value and expertise to offer, and they should be able to get involved in delivering public services in the most appropriate way for their organisation, ensuring that service users get the best possible support.’
The Hon Bernard Jenkin MP, Chair of the Public Administration Select Committee, will be expanding on some of the themes in the Big Society report at our Christmas Reception in the House of Commons (taking place 4-6pm today, Wednesday 14 December).
Read the full PASC report.
Our Policy Manager, James Allen, has also written a blog about our response to the report.