The Big or Civil Society?
The election of a new Coalition government in the UK has led to a change of direction in third sector policy within England, referred to by the new government as ‘building the Big Society’. Outlining the key commitments of the Big Society agenda and the ideology behind them, Pete Alcock identifies some of the implications for third sector policy and practice.
Pointing to research evidence, the article explores some of the contradictions which seem to lie behind the Big Society philosophy. There is evidence to refute, for example, the idea that reduced public welfare provision leaves more space for voluntary action. The article goes on to question whether the big society agenda may threaten third sector unity.