Having been asked to organise a 'What does the Big Society mean for the VCS' meeting, I sigh at the complexities of trying to obtain a consistent view from the sector that reflects everyone's perspective. I also shudder at the thought that such a response would resemble 'War and Peace' (in more ways than one) and that almost no-one, except maybe a lone policy officer in the remaining civil service will read it.
So our conclusion is simple, bite size chunks are the way forward.
I am working on a series of questions that can be used to frame responses from the huge range of specialisms that exist within the VCS. We are asking that any local events that are happening to discuss Big Society can also consider incorporating these questions. As a starting point here is the first attempt at covering all the bases:
- Service delivery - how can local involvement in public service delivery improve outcomes?
- Support - what practical support will be needed for local / community groups?
- Volunteers - what are the challenges and opportunities for volunteers in the Big Society?
- Local public sector - when have local authorities / PCTs etc and the community worked well together and how can this be improved?
- Funding and resources - will Big Society improve or reduce sustainability of groups and how?
- Equality - can everyone participate?
- Timescales - are there timing issues that need to be considered?
Any comments will be gratefully received.