A ‘must read’ document has been published by HM Government, a new Civil Society Strategy
In launching it, Tracey Crouch, minister for sport and civil society, said:
“Civil society is the bedrock of our communities. [ ] Our strategy builds on this spirit of common good to help create a country that works for everyone. [ ]Through collaboration, we will unlock the huge potential of this incredible sector, help it grow, support the next generation and create a fairer society.”
It contains some really encouraging stuff, not least a re-commitment to the principle of the Compact, a programme to increase the number of sustainable community run spaces, a move to encourage greater collaboration between business and civil society and a recognition of the weaknesses of current approaches to public service commissioning.
There are also, however, significant questions to be asked about some of the goals in the strategy will be realised.
In making statements such as, the Government will:
establish the National Citizen Service Trust as an independent public body that is accountable to parliament and ministers.
allocate £90 million to an ambitious youth initiative, delivered by a new organisation which will operate independently of government.
establish a responsible business Leadership Group [which] will lead the debate about the role of business in society and develop actions to support businesses to fulfil this role.
the creation of national quangos appears to back on agenda about a decade after a host of such organisations were culled, they having been shown to act in ways that justify their ongoing existence and absorb public money into ongoing administration.
Then there is the statement:
The government will support the spread of Citizen Commissioners – local people supported to make commissioning decisions on behalf of their communities.
which looks easy to say, but also incredibly hard to realise in practice, because the skills, understanding, integrity and assurance required to perform such a role will be hard to find in what, presumably, to sustain independence, would need to be volunteer roles.
So, situation normal – there are as many questions as answers within. But whatever, anyone interested or involved in the community sector should absorb this important statement of strategic direction.