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

Nick Hurd
Nick Hurd

The government has "achieved a lot" in the past two years, according to Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society.

Hurd's comments have come in reply to a letter to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, from Sir Stephen Bubb, head of the chief executives body Acevo, which said the government’s big society agenda was "effectively dead" and criticised "glacially slow" reforms in many areas of public service provision.

Bubb’s letter was sent to Cameron on the eve of the coalition government’s mid-term review document, which was published on Monday.

In a lengthy response, Hurd says he is proud of what the government has achieved over the past two and a half years and is "ambitious for what we can achieve in the next period".

His letter sets out what the government has done to further the big society agenda, such as promoting ATM giving, setting up the National Citizen Service, initiating 13 social impact bonds and launching the social investment wholesaler Big Society Capital, which Hurd describes as his proudest moment as a minister.

He says the government is "opening up our public services so that charities, social enterprises and local groups can play their part", and points to the promotion of free schools, an expanded role for charities in providing health services through NHS reform and involving hundreds of charities in providing services through the Work Programme – although he acknowledges that its payment-by-results approach "has been challenging for some providers".

"Britain is blessed to have some of the most generous people and the most innovative charities in the world," the letter concludes. "That’s why I’m optimistic that if we all work together we can build on the progress we’ve made already to create the bigger, stronger society we all want to be part of."

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