Roots of Big Society in US welfare policies

Carrying on the theme of this post,  there was a very interesting In Focus piece in Sunday’s Observer tracing the roots of UK Big Society policies and welfare reform to the US and again reinforcing the role that Cameron’s “secret weapon”, Steve Hilton, his special policy advisor, has played.

Read it here.

Iain Duncan Smith, W&P secretary, will be publishing a White Paper on welfare reform this week — said to be the biggest shake-up of the welfare system since its establishment.

  1. chris newis Reply

    Today’s FT reports that Cabinet office minister

    Francis Maude yesterday announced the extensiion of Labour’s Right to Request – a scheme by which health service managers and staff were encouraged to form social enterprises to run externalised public services. This is now to be extended to Local Authority workers.
    I say that it is now time to form a BSSEC tasforce to help City Council staff to form social enterprises. Much as we did in the private sector in the last recession. I and others have been getting informal requests for information from BCC workers. Is it now time to act and if not when?
    Dr Chris

    • Alun Severn Reply

      Chris — good point, and I’ll bump this up with a specific blog item. But there is a key difference between now and the last recession, and that is that then, there were more resources which enabled those providing social enterprise and co-op development services to provide adequate support. Currently, no one seems to want to pay for business support. I think the first job has to be lobbying government to ensure that the proposed bursaries scheme (proposed in the civil society strategy paper published recently) includes funds for all those seeking to purchase business support, and that where money already exists (or at least _did_ exist, such as in the old Social Enterprise Investment Fund, it continues to be applied to enabling people to form mutuals and social enterprises.

    • Simon Lee Reply

      We’re doing some work in this area (particularly Right to Request in health), so if you (or anyone else) want to talk further please let me know.


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