Last week the Government launched the first Civil Society Strategy in 15 years.
This Strategy sets out how government will work with and for civil society in the long-term to create a country that works for everyone. It consists of five chapters that each address the ‘five foundations of social value’ in turn:
- People – enabling a lifetime of contribution focuses on the role of citizens in civil society, with particular reference to the role of young people.
- Places – empowerment and investment for local communities presents a vision of ‘place’, and the role of government in supporting local communities.
- The social sector – supporting charities and social enterprises explains the government’s approach to the core of civil society i.e. the social sector of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises including mutuals.
- The private sector – promoting business, finance and tech for good outlines the role of business, finance and tech in civil society.
- The public sector – ensuring collaborative commissioning explains how the government sees the future role of civil society organisations in the delivery of public services.
The Civil Society Strategy plans to:
- Unlock £20 million from inactive charitable trusts (those which spend less than 30% of their annual income) to support community organisations over the next two years. The work will be carried out alongside the Charity Commission and UK Community Foundations.
- Launch an ‘Innovation in Democracy’ pilot scheme in six regions across the country. This will trial creative ways for people to take a more direct role in decisions that affect their local area. This could include Citizens Juries or mass participation in decision-making on community issues via an online poll or app.
- Fund a new independent organisation that will distribute £90 million from dormant bank accounts to get disadvantaged young people into employment. This new organisation will harness the experience of grassroots youth workers, businesses, and other local services, to help young people achieve their full potential.
- Fund a new independent organisation to use £55 million from dormant accounts to tackle financial exclusion and the problem of access to affordable credit.
- Support charities to make their voices heard on issues that matter to them. We will also ensure that charitable trustees reflect the diversity of the society they serve.
- Strengthen Britain’s values of corporate responsibility, through the launch of a major new Leadership Group. This will be formed of senior figures from the business, investment and social sectors, to put social and environmental responsibility at the heart of company decisions.