Civil Society Strategy

The Government published its Civil Society Strategy on 9th August 2018.

The focus is on community, an ‘even bigger’ society, and creating ‘social value’ – something that the Government states as being independent of state control. There are five aspects to the strategy – people, places, the social sector, the private sector, and the public sector.

On ‘people’, the Government promises:

  • Continuing the DCMS and Big Lottery run Place Based Social Action programme – supporting local partnerships
  • Training 3,500 in community organisations
  • Plans for DFE and DCMS to collaborate to help young people to play their part
  • Setting up the National Citizen Service Trust as an independent public body that is accountable to Parliament and Ministers
  • Allocating £90m to a new organisation focusing on transitioning disadvantaged young people into work.

On ‘places’:

  • Launching an Innovation in Democracy program, supporting local decision making
  • Designing a program to review sustainable community spaces
  • Encouraging ‘community rights’, i.e. taking up ownership of local assets
  • Continuing strategic initiatives with existing local industry and enterprise
  • New funding models bridging social, charitable and corporate investment, as well as Big Society Capital and Access funding £35m from dormant accounts.

On ‘the social sector’:

  • Reviewing the relationship between the social sector and government
  • Exploring ‘non-legislative’ steps to enable some ‘speaking out’ lobbying and campaigning
  • Convening a cross- government group to take part in the policy making process
  • A regular point of access to DCMS for social enterprises
  • Releasing at least £20m over the next two years from inactive charitable trusts to help community organisations
  • Exploring how charitable giving can be better pooled
  • Joint action on increasing diversity in trusteeships
  • Explore how to use ‘digital’ to build a stronger and even more effective social sector.

On ‘the private sector’:

  • ‘Build support’ for responsible business and update in 2019
  • Establish a responsible business Leadership Group reporting to DBEIS and DCMS
  • Build on the Inclusive Economy Partnership, and further develop recommendations on social impact investment and business transparency.

On ‘the public sector’:

  • A vision of ‘collaborative commissioning’
  • Support the spread of Citizen Commissioners, as local decision makers
  • Extend support currently offered to mutuals and social sector organisations wanting to deliver public services
  • Broaden community funding, including reviving grant funding
  • Improving the use of the Public Service (Social Value) Act 2012 and requiring central government (as well all local government in the future) to positively ‘account’ for social value in procurement, rather than just ‘consider’ it.
  • Using social value in grants as well as contracts and explore whether the Social Value Act could apply to other public decision making such as planning and community asset transfers.

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