Civil Society Strategy: Building a Future that Works for Everyone

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Government of the United Kingdom

Civil Society Strategy: building a future that works for everyoneThe Civil Society Strategy sets out how the government will work to support and to strengthen civil society, without compromising its independence. Civil society refers to all individuals and organisations, when undertaking activities with the primary purpose of delivering social value, independent of state control. The government wants to build a partnership with charities and social enterprises, with volunteers, community groups and faith groups, with public service mutuals, socially responsible businesses and investors, and with the institutions which bring sports, arts, heritage, and culture to our communities.

A strong partnership of government, business, finance, and communities will help society rise to the enormous opportunities of our times. Civil society can help us make good on the promise of the 21st century: a more connected society, in which everyone can play their part.

Civil society can also help us tackle a range of burning injustices and entrenched social challenges, such as poverty, obesity, mental ill-health, youth disengagement, reoffending, homelessness, isolation, and loneliness, and the challenges of community integration.

Download the Civil Society Strategy

Across our society individuals and organisations, including traditional charities, social enterprises, mutuals, and mission-led businesses, are designing effective responses to social challenges. Together with public services and mainstream businesses, they are creating ‘social value’: enriched lives for individuals and social justice in all its forms.

The role of government – and the purpose at the heart of this Strategy – is to act as the convenor of the emerging coalition of people and organisations which, together, have the answers to the challenges of our times. This means leading the debate about the future social model our country needs, coordinating investment, tracking data on what works, and most of all, ensuring people themselves are at the heart of the system we are building together.

The Civil Society Strategy (People, Place, Public Sector, Social Sector, Private Sector)


Ministerial Foreword
Executive Summary

    The purpose of the Strategy
    The foundations of social value
    How government plans to work
    Next steps
        Ministerial statement: responsible business
About the Strategy
    Developing the Strategy
        What we heard
    Scope of the Strategy
    Defining civil society
    Measuring success
    The document
Chapter 1. PEOPLE: enabling a lifetime of contribution
    Mission 1: a connected, resourceful society
        Loneliness and social connections
        Civil society and disaster response
        Ministerial statement: policing and civil society
        Case study: Grenfell voluntary, community and social enterprise  organisation funding approach
    Mission 2: people in charge
        Active, mobilised citizens
        Case study: Community Organisers – building relationships across diverse communities
        Government and public sector open to citizen input
    Mission 3: opportunities for young people
        Local youth services
        Habits of social responsibility
        Helping the most disadvantaged young people
        Social responsibility in and out of school
        Building on our offer for young people
        Young people and national policy design
        Case study: National Citizen Service – individual experience, Rais Aslam
        Case study: Team London Young Ambassadors – young people improving their schools and communities
        Ministerial statement: crime and civil society
Chapter 2. PLACES: empowerment and investment for local communities
    Mission 4: empowerment
        Onward devolution
        Participatory democracy
        Community assets
        Case study: a collaborative approach to commissioning and community participation
        Case study: Suffolk Libraries
    Mission 5: investment
        Strategic spending
        New models of finance
        Supporting local sports, arts and culture
        Ministerial statement: communities and civil society
        Case studies: Greater Grimsby Town Deal Proposal, Greater Manchester Combined Authority
        and West Midlands Combined Authority
Chapter 3. THE SOCIAL SECTOR: supporting charities and social enterprises
    Mission 6: the voice of civil society
        The rules on campaigning
        Hearing from civil society
        Ministerial statement: the voice of civil society
    Mission 7: funding and financing the social sector
        Diversifying funding and finance
        Tax and Regulation
        Case study: Big Lottery Fund
    Mission 8: leadership, support and regulation
        Local support system
        Charity regulation, transparency and safeguarding
        Case studies: civil society and family support
    Mission 9: a social sector confident with digital
        Case study: Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST) – helping people use digital for social good
        Ministerial statement: education and civil society
Chapter 4. THE PRIVATE SECTOR: promoting business, finance and tech for good
    Mission 10: responsible business
        Supporting responsible businesses
        Supporting Socially and Environmentally Purposeful Businesses
        Updating corporate governance
        Partnerships with business on social challenges
        Promoting visibility and transparency
        Sustainable Development Goals
        Case study: the Inclusive Economy Partnership – using the power of partnerships to create positive social change
    Mission 11: finance for good
        Social impact investment
        The government’s response to the Corley Review
        Community shares
        Financial inclusion
    Mission 12: the role of technology
        Tech for good
        Ministerial statement: health and civil society
Chapter 5. THE PUBLIC SECTOR: ensuring collaborative commissioning
    Mission 13: a framework for collaborative commissioning
        Supporting civil society from Whitehall
        Citizen Commissioners
        The role of local government
        Case study: government, NHS and voluntary, community and social enterprise partnership working to enhance health and care
    Mission 14: funding the future of public services 
        Alternative commissioning models
        Grants 2.0
        Flexible contracting
        Case study: public service mutual – PossAbilities
    Mission 15: commissioning for social value
        Strengthening the Social Value Act
        Ministerial statement: refugees and civil society
Annex A. Engagement Exercise: demographic information

Source: Government of the United Kingdom

Research report
International CED
Policy Development & Advocacy
Sector-Based Strategies
Social Economy & Social Enterprise

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