The voluntary sector should draw up its own agenda for the big society, according to the broadcaster Jon Snow, who is chair of several charities.
"The voluntary sector hasn't drawn up its own proposals for the big society," said Snow, while chairing the City Bridge Trust's Investing in Civil Society conference yesterday. "Isn't this something the sector should do?"
David Emerson, chief executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations, said in response that his own organisation would be "in a position to take up that challenge" once it had responded to proposals to introduce minimum payouts for charitable foundations.
Clare Thomas, chief grants officer at the City Bridge Trust, added that the big society represented an unprecedented opportunity to put the third sector centre stage in many areas of public life.
"We need to make the most it, not react negatively," she said. "It's a difficult time, but we should use this as an opportunity to present the sector's needs."