The Government of the United Kingdom has launched their first Civil Society Strategy in 15 years. The Strategy will build stronger communities by bringing together businesses, charities and the public sector, the Government has vowed today.
Civil society refers to organisations and individuals working to create social value, enriching lives and building a fairer society for all.
The new vision places communities at the centre of decision-making and focuses on five key foundations of social value: people, places and the public, private and social sectors.
The work follows the Government’s Industrial Strategy, published last year. The strategy complements plans to grow Britain’s economy and boost productivity by building a more connected society, where everyone can play their part in a fairer, healthier and more prosperous country.
It creates more opportunities for people to actively take part in community decisions, as well as highlighting ways to harness the power of digital and technology for public good.
The Civil Society Strategy will:
- 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 in conjunction with 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.
- Establish an 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.
- Create an independent organisation to use £55 million from dormant bank 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 and ensuring 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, formed of senior figures from the business, investment and social sectors, to put social and environmental responsibility at the heart of company decisions.
- Use digital technology for good to improve the work charities can provide to support healthy ageing, bolster online safety and better connect people in an effort to tackle loneliness.
- Improve the use of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 to ensure that organisations can generate more social value for communities when spending public money on government contracts.
- “…some good stuff and some underwhelming policy too…” – first impressions of the Civil Society Strategy from Co-ops UK
- “This strategy could still be a good springboard for social enterprise” – Social Enterprise UK response to the Civil Society Strategy