This report from ResPublica argues that the Big Society will fail unless urgent action is taken to better support civil society in our public services. The report says that the development of an expanded civil society is being hampered by burdensome bureaucracy and over complicated commissioning processes.
Although some commentators paint the sector as weak and ineffective, civil society contributed around £147 billion to the UK economy in 2007/8 and delivers nearly £33 billion of services to the NHS annually. The relationship between civil society and public service delivery is complex, but it goes to the heart of what ‘The Big Society’ actually means.
A recent survey found that the number of public sector suppliers going bust in the first six months of 2010 rose by 50 per cent. A total of 168 businesses in the health and social services, education and defence sectors went insolvent during the period, compared to 114 for the first half of 2009.
The report is available here.