Voluntary sector minister Fiona Mactaggart told volunteering sector leaders last week that she wanted active citizens to be prepared to do "uncomfortable and bad things" to improve society.
Her comments came in a speech on civic renewal at a volunteering conference, run by think-tank Institute for Public Policy Research.
"We don't want the model of the well-trained citizen, but people who are prepared to do uncomfortable and bad things to engage with their communities," Mactaggart said. She added she had once "been bad" by using male toilets in her office building to highlight the lack of female ones, despite the fact that most of the staff were women.
Mactaggart added that she had started to "creep round" major departments to create a more joined-up government and had persuaded the Minister for Work and Pensions to produce a leaflet promoting volunteering.