In a February 2011 speech, the Prime Minister described the Big Society as his “absolute passion” and as “a different way of governing, a different way of going about trying to change our country for the better”. The Big Society involves three key elements:
• Community empowerment: giving local councils and neighbourhoods more power to take decisions and shape their area
• Opening up public services: enabling voluntary organisations, charities, social enterprises, and employee-owned co-operatives to compete to offer public services
• Social action: encouraging and enabling people to play a more active part in society
This parliamentary briefing note provides further background to the Big Society concept; the role of the voluntary and community sector and outlines some of the Government’s initiatives in this area.