Third Sector and the NHS – The Trojan Horse?

Trojan_HorseSussex is one area of the country lucky enough to have a feisty local Defend our NHS campaign. Lately the group has been taking a look at the role of voluntary agencies in the struggle to stop the break-up of the Health Service. The result is an impressive paper. Whilst voluntary groups can both oppose … Continue reading

Struggling to Survive… Independently – 5 stories from the frontline

do-nothing-go-forward-pic-monkey2Latest production from our Inquiry into the Future of Voluntary Services….five stories from locally-based Voluntary Services Groups struggling to survive in the environment of cuts to funding and moves to the use of contracting approaches by public bodies. They illustrate the difficulties and dilemmas experienced, and some of the responses being adopted, by groups operating … Continue reading

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

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

The real Big Society – Barnet activists show the way over library closure

An inspiring video – ‘A Polite Revolution’ – from activists in Barnet shows how an alliance between occupy, trades unions and local people can make an impact that goes beyond the sum of the parts. Faced with the closure of Friern Barnet library, the building was occupied and kept open by local people. This forced … Continue reading

Fight privatisation and win? – Yes it can be done!!

October 15th marked a decisive moment for anti-privatisation campaigners when the Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust announced that the county’s 8 community hospitals and health services (including 3000 nurses and other health workers would remain in the NHS. This reversed an earlier decision to outsource services by creating a ‘social enterprise’, in what would have … Continue reading

We’re still here

A spirit of independence helps an older people’s project in Leeds keep going without council funding but it’s a struggle to provide the activities that people need 

Stanningley and Swinnow Live at Home Scheme (SSLaHS) was formed in 1988 by St. Thomas’ Church Group and became part of a neighbourhood network system that was unique … Continue reading

An essay on the ‘big society’

John SeddonJohn Seddon reflects on how a systems thinking method has improved public services but is now under threat from cuts, commissioning and ‘big society’ as the government fails to move beyond central control and large-scale initiatives.

David Cameron described the ‘big society’ as a ‘culture change’, where people are free and powerful enough to help … Continue reading

Funeral procession for the death of our public services

Manchester group The Art Corner are organising a funeral procession for the loss of our public services, to take place on the day of the royal wedding (29th April). They will have five coffins decorated with wreaths spelling out NHS, Education, Immigration, The Arts and Welfare. Participants will dress in black and march solemnly down … Continue reading

Cake or death? A comment on the cuts, ‘big society’ and community sector ‘cognitive dissonance’

Cake or death image‘Big society’ is a bust, local authorities have problems of their own and economic recovery is unlikely any time soon, writes Andrew Climo, CEO of Community Leaders. His advice for people who work in the community sector? Question partnerships with the statutory sector, only do projects with profound community benefits, lobby for what your community … Continue reading