Peterborough Prison and Social Impact Bonds – what’s going on?

Kenneth Clarke, then justice secretary, talks to an inmate at Peterborough prison in 2010Recently the Government announced that it was pulling the plug on the Peterborough Prison Social Impact Bond (SIB) pilot, despite an interim evaluation showing “promising results”. This scheme – due to have run for seven years instead of the three now planned – has been dragged round the conference circuit now for several years by … Continue reading

How come we didn’t know?

nhs for saleThe privatisation of our public services and common wealth is taking place with stealth and subterfuge, and at a great pace. Our money is going to multi-nationals such as SERCO, currently under investigation for falsification of data and sub-standard services. But there are ways to expose what is going on and get it into the … Continue reading

G4S given job of community placements

skull and crossbonesG4S is the biggest winner of “Help to Work” contracts, the latest workfare programme which started yesterday. G4S is currently under investigation for fraud. As part of this contract G4S will seek placements in voluntary groups, which will be responsible for reporting claimants for benefit sanctions if they fail to comply with the placement.

Keep Continue reading

More evidence of Big Society sham

Armine_IshkanianThe government’s largely discredited ‘Big Society’ mantra promised to strengthen the capacity of civil society. More evidence of the empty rhetoric that surrounds the idea now comes from LSE’s Armine Ishkanian.  In an article published in Critical Social Policy, Armine examines how “…. The Big Society agenda, coming alongside public spending cuts, is affecting the … Continue reading

Will morality make capitalism kind?

what next?“We are currently witnessing a ruthless colonisation of the world of voluntary action, led by pure ideology  from neo-liberal economics” says NCIA’s Adrian Barritt in the Observer 29.12.13.

Folk at NCIA are always busy, noticing what is happening in the world. Over the holiday period Adrian Barritt, from Adur Voluntary Action spotted this article … Continue reading

Equal citizenship – why we need our Welfare State

Simon DuffyHere’s the latest in our series of essays as part of our Inquiry into Voluntary Services. This comes from Simon Duffy of the Centre for Welfare Reform, and Campaign for a Fair Society, who argues that our defence of the Welfare State needs to be rooted in the idea of equal citizenship.

“The purpose of Continue reading

What does a CVS stand for and who with?

Picture of a signpost saying integrityCVSs are “adrift from the grassroots and they tend to be silent around issues such as welfare reform”. So says the Chief Executive of  Community Action Southwark. “There isn’t that voice. We have been seduced. The more fundamental questions aren’t being asked. That seduction is diminishing voluntary and community action.” And he’s not the … Continue reading

Radio 4 puts NCIA line, then reaches some strange conclusions

‘What are charities for?’ was the theme of last Monday’s Radio 4 ‘Analysis’ programme. 25 minutes of powerful evidence, including from interviews with us, set out the stall of how state co-option and contracting has sapped the independence of charities and all but extinguished the fire in their belly to fight for social justice. But … Continue reading

Voluntary services – comply or resist?

Mike Cushmanlinda milbourneAnother excellent contribution to our debate about the future of voluntary services comes from Linda Milbourne and Mike Cushman. ‘Complying, transforming or resisting in the new austerity?’ powerfully unpacks “… changes that appear to be modifying and restricting the voluntary sector’s previous role in social welfare, limiting its influence and its ability to act simultaneously … Continue reading