Eric Pickles announced as joint chair of ministerial big society group

Communities secretary gets involved as group's remit is expanded to cover localism

Eric Pickles
Eric Pickles

Communities secretary Eric Pickles will co-chair the coalition government’s big society ministerial group, which has been set up to coordinate government departments' efforts to help communities do more for themselves.

The Cabinet Office has announced that Pickles will jointly chair the group – which met for the first time this week – with Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who was initially announced as the sole chair.

A Cabinet Office statement said the meeting "agreed that the remit of the group should be expanded to cover localism as well as big society, and that it would be co-chaired in future by Eric Pickles".

Among the issues covered in the first meeting of the group – which was attended by 15 ministers – was the importance and effectiveness of the Compact, the statement said.

Maude said: "Big society is not about big government but about communities doing more for themselves. We want to ensure that every part of government is working together to ensure individuals and communities have the support and opportunities to change the things they care about."

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