Tag Archives: Big Society

Neighbourhood Challenge promises first #bigsociety funding from @nesta_uk

I’m surprised that the NESTA Neighbourhood Challenge, to be launched on Tuesday, hasn’t attracted more attention – since it promises Big Society funding for local areas.

I don’t have more information than that in the invite (below), but it looks like a programme in which areas will be invited to compete for funding for Big Society initiatives. Shades of Michael Heseltine’s City Challenge programme of 1991? I would be very surprised if this initiative were not planned in No 10.

If so, it looks like a smart move on the part of the government, because not only will it benefit the ten areas who get the funds, but also do something for the Big Society “brand”.

Talking the other day to an academic with a long memory of government support for community engagement, we discussed how to get good publicity and positive word-of-mouth mentions when you don’t have big marketing budgets. His answer: hand out small amounts of money, and make it competitive so people have to be polite about the process if they are to benefit. Be nice about people who are already doing the sort of thing you want to see happen. Help people tell good stories.

I’m not being cynical here: it makes a lot of sense to pilot new approaches, and learn from those before releasing further funds.

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How #bigsociety can liberate three types of assets, by @rsamatthew

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA, trails tomorrow’s Comprehensive Spending Review (aka What’s Going to be Cut) with a hint that local authorities will get less money but more freedom to spend it.
He argues that amidst the news of cuts there should be mention of the Big Society, because it offers far more than the easily-caricatured idea of volunteers stepping in to provide cut-back public services.
Big Society is relevant at a time of austerity because it can, potentially, help us think about releasing assets of three types: in the individual, the community, and the organisation. read more »

Networking Big Society – or maybe some knowledge gardening

In my last two posts here and here I’ve written about the Government’s idea for the Big Society, which aims to ….

  1. Give communities more powers
  2. Encourage people to take an active role in their communities
  3. Transfer power from central to local government
  4. Support co-ops, mutuals, charities and social enterprises
  5. Publish government data.

… and suggested that while there is a lot now underway,  there is no Big Plan and it is also unlikely that we will see a Big Process aimed at creating any shared vision for what’s needed to move from aspiration to achievement.
I haven’t been writing particularly critically – not just because I’m working part-time for the Big Society Network. For the best of Big Society ideas to succeed they have to be filled out and realised bottom-up, not through Government-orchestrated programmes. read more »