The Big Society

How the Big Society agenda affects the voluntary sector, key milestones in its evolution, and reaction from sector experts. Plus, people working in voluntary organisations and local government give their views on the big society in a survey commissioned by Third Sector and Local Government Chronicle.

Comment & Interviews

Wally Harbert: An open letter to Nick Hurd While big charities get bigger with government money, the big society is languishing. Distributing funds directly to small, local projects is the answer, writes our columnist

Wally Harbert: Why the major players in the sector resent the big society It wasn't launched jointly with them and the government is trying to address a weakness in society that they have ignored, says our guest online columnist

Editorial: Is this bye-bye to the big society? Ministers are scaling down their references to what may have been little more than a political slogan that got completely out of hand, says Stephen Cook

Interview: Paul Boissier The RNLI chief executive tells David Ainsworth that he likes the idea of the big society but his charity's tax bill has gone up and the VAT relief system for charities makes little sense

Interview: John Mohan The deputy director of the Third Sector Research Centre tells John Plummer about its research that challenges some of the thinking behind the big society agenda

Interview: 'The charity world is changing' One year since the government came to power, the Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, tells Kaye Wiggins he is sympathetic about cuts but determined to press on with the big society agenda

Editorial: Is the big society a state of mind? Commentators calling for more schemes and specifics may be missing the point, writes Stephen Cook

The evolution of the Big Society

Nick Hurd

Nick Hurd indicates government has abandoned pledge for annual big society day

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, the Minister for Civil Society declines to elaborate but says it's 'more important to get behind things like the National Citizen Service'

Rob Macmillan

Sector 'views big society with distrust, but also as an opportunity to engage government'

Report by Rob Macmillan of the Third Sector Research Centre says sector staff see the policy as confusing and 'challenged by day-to-day reality'

Nick Hurd

We are proud of what we've achieved in two years, says Minister for Civil Society

Nick Hurd responds to Sir Stephen Bubb's claim that the big society is dead with a letter that lists the government's achievements and says it remains ambitious

Sir Stephen Bubb

Big society is 'effectively dead', Sir Stephen Bubb tells PM

In letter to David Cameron, the head of the chief executives body Acevo writes that the government's vision for the sector has lost its way

Nick Hurd

Nick Hurd affirms government's commitment to 'big society vision'

The Minister for Civil Society has set out the government's flagship objectives in an open letter to the voluntary sector

Nick Hurd

Interview: Nick Hurd

Programmes and initiatives for the voluntary sector have multiplied since last year's Tory gathering focused on the big society. Kaye Wiggins asks the Minister for Civil Society about his priorities and John Plummer looks at the policy details

Lord Wei

Analysis: Big society adviser decides to move on

Lord Wei leaves the stage after a harsh year in the spotlight

David Cameron (centre)

Cameron renews big society vows

Prime Minister tells launch of the Giving White Paper that stronger communities and relationships make life worth living

Lord Rennard

Banks missed 'historic opportunity' to support voluntary sector

Lib Dem peer Lord Rennard says new law is needed to force banks to improve lending and support to charities


Most think the big society will not be achieved, poll suggests

Survey by nfpSynergy finds that only 9 per cent think government's flagship policy will do what it claims

Joe Anderson, leader of Liverpool City Council

Liverpool City Council quits big society vanguard

It says funding cuts and job losses that will 'cut the lifeline' to voluntary groups

Big Society under pressure

Analysis: Big society under pressure

Nick Hurd says the flagship agenda is 'alive and well', despite criticism from members of his own party

Paul Twivy

Big society idea 'divides the Cabinet and is loathed by the public'

Big Society Network co-founder Paul Twivy tells NCVO conference that people struggle to understand the concept

Lord Rennard

Great and the good line up to keep tabs on big society

Acevo sets up panel to scrutinise the government's flagship initiative

Anna Coote, head of social policy, NEF

Big society will be broken by spending cuts, says think tank report

New Economics Foundation says the voluntary sector faces an impossible task in filling the void left by the state

Party faithful

Analysis: Big society is the hot topic at the Conservative Party conference

Fringe events at this year's conference attempted to define the concept of big society

Charities Aid Foundation chief executive John Low

Poll shows less than half of charities have faith in Cameron's big society

A Charities Aid Foundation survey says only a minority of charities believe the big society is achievable, even with sufficient funding

Lord Wei

Building the big society will be 'arduous and filled with setbacks', warns Lord Wei

Government adviser outlines challenges in maiden speech in House of Lords

Nick Clegg

Coalition outlines plans for big society programme

David Cameron and Nick Clegg unveil proposals for a Big Society Bank and a national citizen service

David Cameron

Charities will run state services under Tories, says Cameron

Conservative leader sets out his vision of a smaller state, complemented by a 'big society'


The Big Society Survey

Results and analysis of people working in voluntary organisations and local government, commissioned by Third Sector and Local Government Chronicle.

Big society survey

Survey reveals scepticism over big society's potential

Council staff 'more optimistic' overall than those in voluntary sector


The big society: We'll have a go ... but what is it?

A survey by Third Sector and the Local Government Chronicle indicates that people who work in the voluntary sector and local government are not sure what the big society is, but are trying to make sense of it nonetheless. Stephen Cook reports


The Big Society: survey results

A round-up of the results from the big society survey commissioned by Third Sector and Local Government Chronicle


The Big Society Survey: what they said

A selection of the hundreds of comments made by respondents to the survey


Local government 'more optimistic' about big society than voluntary sector

Survey by Third Sector and the Local Government Chronicle finds difference in attitudes to government's flagship idea


Additional Information

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90 per cent funded training for third sector: Collaborative Leadership Programme

  • Date: Thu 13 Mar 2014 - Fri 16 May 2014
  • Venue: Leeds

People power

  • Date: Wed 30 Apr 2014 - Wed 30 Apr 2014
  • Venue: London

The Acevo Gathering of Social Leaders: One Year to Go

  • Date: Wed 7 May 2014 - Wed 7 May 2014
  • Venue: London

Third Sector Insight