The government established their Civil Society Strategy on the 9th August 2018, a strategy looking at the long-term well being and development of society for the benefit of all. The strategy identifies 5 key areas, with initiatives under each; these are summarised below:
- Place Based Social Action: Programme with Big Lottery Fund to enable community collaboration for VCSE, private, and public organisations
- Community Organisers: Training 3,500 organisers by 2020
- Innovation in Democracy pilot: Participatory democracy approaches to community decision-making
- New community funding models, including social impact investment, charitable funding and corporate investment. Big Society Capital and Access (The Foundation for Social Investment) will devote around £35 million of dormant accounts funding
The social sector -
- Charity Commission and UK Community Foundations to release at least £20 million over the next two years from inactive charitable trusts to help community organisation
The private sector -
- Explore using technology to address complex social issues, including loneliness, healthy ageing, online safety, and digital inclusion
- New organisation to tackle financial exclusion with Big Lottery Fund and £55 million of dormant accounts funding
The public sector -
- Use public spending to generate social value and increase social value commissioning
All of the key areas were developed to deliver increased Social Value through establishing thriving communities with sufficient social, financial, natural and physical capital.
A discussion in the House of Lords recently focused on Social Value, specifically how to increase the social value of public procurement through the alignment of it with the Civil Society Strategy from the 23rd May 2019. The government also recently canvased industry expertise and thoughts on the inclusion of Social Value in central government procurement not just local authority procurement through a consultation which ran from March 2019 to 10 June 2019.
These discussions provide encouragement that there is real traction behind the initiatives and strategies in place but more work still needs to be done.
- Firstly - maximising the value generated for society
- Secondly - making sure the value is generated where its most needed
- Finally - timely delivery of value and initiatives is needed, the pace of development needs to keep pace with the changes in societies
Overall it is very encouraging to be able to see such strategies in place which take a holistic view of society and has a determined initiative to make it work for all within the community through realising Social Value across all key areas.
For further information and the full review of the strategy we would recommend reading 'Civil Society Strategy: A Policy Review' by Bennett et al from Sheffield Hallam University.
This Strategy sets out how government will work with and for civil society in the long-term to create a country that works for everyone.