Lord Maurice Glasman, a Labour peer, has accused Locality, the charity that won the contract to deliver the government's £15m community organising programme, of taking a "paternalist" approach and being "well-intentioned busybodies".
Glasman, an adviser to the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, told the Public Administration Select Committee inquiry on the big society yesterday: "Community organising is based on working-class people taking action and having power.
"The government's contract for its community organising programme explicitly said it wanted this model to be adopted, but then the government gave the contract to Locality, a paternalist, eat-your-vegetables-and-don't-smoke type of organisation.
"Locality has no experience of training people from within deprived communities," he said. "They are well-intentioned busybodies; that's what they have always been."
Glasman said he thought the government had decided not to give the contract to the charity London Citizens, with which he has worked closely, because this would have risked causing disruption.
"Once there was a realisation that real community organising would lead to a genuine mayhem, messiness and conflict, they gave the contract to the toffs," he said.
In response to Glasman's comments, Jess Steele, director of innovation at Locality, wrote on the social networking website Twitter: "London-centric egotist Lord Glasman insults real communities across UK."
Steele was unavailable for further comment.