Building the Big Society

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The Big Society is at the core of this Government’s plans for office. As David Cameron said in one of his first announcements as Prime Minister: “I would like it to be one of the great legacies of this government: building the Big Society. And the big ask, if you like, from us to you, is: what more can we do to make it possible? What steps do you need us to take?”

The Coalition Government has talked about a fundamental resettlement of the relationship between the citizen and the state. Yet there has been only limited discussion of how the Big Society will be funded at a time of budgetary restraint. Over the next year Reform will be exploring how to achieve the transfer of power that the Government hopes for. Our programme will examine how to open up public services to greater competition and provision by independent organisations whether from the private sector or third sector. We will consider how these new services can be held to account by central and local government and by users.

Particularly at a time of public spending constraint, it is important to explore innovative financial products and funding solutions for social initiatives. We will highlight the most promising developments, as well as how to encourage new forms of financing – not just philanthropy but private investment, venture capital and private equity. We will also discuss how to boost growth through new enterprise and business, since job creation is likely to be a decisive factor in building strong local communities and economies.

This conference addressed these new ideas about delivering public services and acted as a practical forum to develop them into workable solutions.

Speakers at this conference included:

Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP
Minister for Government Policy

Sir Stephen Bubb
Chief Executive, ACEVO

Roberta Blackman-Woods MP
Shadow MInister for Civil Society

Jesse Norman MP
Member of Parliament for Hereford and South Herefordshire, and Author, The Big Society

Matthew Taylor
Chief Executive, RSA

Patrick Butler
Editor of Society, Health and Education, The Guardian

Ali Parsa
Managing Partner, Circle

Chris Cummings
Chief Executive, TheCityUK

Clive Barton
Corporate Affairs Director, Serco

Rob Brown
Senior Partner, Local Government, PA Consulting