Book News: May 25th, 2010

This document outlines the first strand of a comprehensive Programme for Government which will deliver reform, renewal, fairness and change. The Programme will give citizens, communities and local government the power and information they need to come together and solve the problems they face.

Communities will be given more powers to reform the planning system to give neighbourhoods more ability to determine the shape of the places in which their inhabitants live. There will also be new powers to help communities save local facilities and services threatened with closure, and give them the right to bid to take over local state-run services.

People will be encouraged to take an active role in their communities. A range of measures will also be introduced to encourage volunteering and involvement in social action, including launching a national ‘Big Society Day’.

There will a National Citizen Service. The initial flagship project will provide a programme for 16 year olds to give them a chance to develop the skills needed to be active and responsible citizens, mix with people from different backgrounds, and start getting involved in their communities.

Power will be transferred from central to local government and there will be devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government, including a full review of local government finance.

There will be support for the creation and expansion of mutuals, co-operatives, charities and social enterprises and they will have greater involvement in the running of public services.

There will also be a new ‘right to data’ so that government-held datasets can be requested and used by the public, and then published on a regular basis. The police will be required to publish detailed local crime data statistics every month.

Building The Big Society is available from the Cabinet Office.