subscribe to careers
News  |  Innovation

Big Ideas for the UK’s Big Society

Monday, 10th January 2011 at 3:55 pm
Staff Reporter
The UK Cabinet Office has published the Government’s initial ideas for developing a stronger culture of giving time and money as part of its Big Society plan.

Monday, 10th January 2011
at 3:55 pm
Staff Reporter



Big Ideas for the UK’s Big Society
Monday, 10th January 2011 at 3:55 pm

The UK Cabinet Office has published the Government’s initial ideas for developing a stronger culture of giving time and money as part of its Big Society plan.

The Government’s Giving Green Paper proposes a new role for government as a facilitator of giving as part of the Big Society plan and aims to make it easier for philanthropists, volunteers and Not for Profit organisations to form partnerships.

British Prime Minister David Cameron.  Flickr Image:  Some rights reserved by conservativeparty 

The UK Government says it wants to develop low-cost but highly effective ideas for large organisations to support charities. Initial ideas include allowing donations to partner charities on government websites and another is to open up buildings that are under-used to charitable activities.

The ‘Big Society’ was one of the key policy ideas of the UK Conservative party’s 2010 election platform, and is a part if the agenda for the UK Coalition Government.

Since it was launched, the Big Society plan has been the focus of much debate, as the cash strapped UK Government looks at ways to reduce funding to the Not for Profit sector while encouraging individual action through philanthropy, volunteering and encouraging social enterprise.

The Big Society plan has been dogged by claims it is a way of dressing up wide-ranging cuts to the Not for Profit sector, and more widely by general confusion as to what the Big Society really is, and what it will look like in practice. Pro Bono Australia News reported in October 2010 that 60% of Not for Profit sector staff in the UK thought the Big Society Policy was a good thing, however 65% said they do not have a good understanding of what it is.

The Giving Green Paper’s include a range of major policy proposals including:

  • A £50 million Community First Fund to invest in local savings schemes that pay out small grants well into the future in the most deprived areas. It will match contributions from local donors to encourage more giving.
  • A £10 million Volunteer Match Fund to double the benefit of private donations to voluntary projects.
  • Harnessing new technology – including working with mobile phone companies to encourage charitable phone applications. Also talking to banks about donations through ATMs and widening access for people to make small charitable donations when paying for goods by cards.
  • Encouraging a new focus on reciprocal giving with ideas like setting up an ebay style online community where people can trade time.
  • A government review of the relationship between financial incentives and giving.
  • Support to encourage charitable giving in schools.

Launching the Giving Green Paper, Minister of the Cabinet Francis Maude says that Big Society is about creating a country in which people are in control. People giving time, money, assets, skills and knowledge all drive social action and help make life better for all.

Either there are no banners, they are disabled or none qualified for this location!

Maude says the Giving Green Paper offers practical common sense ways to boost charitable giving.

Maude says the UK Government is arguing for new social attitudes that celebrate giving and while talking about what people do for good is often seen as vulgar, sharing experiences can inspire others.

He says giving is too often caricaturised as worthy and selfless, a one way street, but there’s nothing wrong with doing things for each other and repaying kindnesses.

Download the Giving Green Paper here.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers?

Get in touch at

Get more stories like this


One Comment

  • Anonymous Anonymous says:

    Big Society is not Dave’s Big Idea. It came from Turkey 40 years ago. The Dialogue Society will proudly tell you that the Big Society was started by Fetullah Gulen, a big player on the world stage. Now I hear that Islamic Banking is favoured in Aus.
    Welcome to the rest of the world, it is happening everywhere.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


UK fundraising sector vows to fight climate change

Luke Michael

Friday, 11th October 2019 at 4:29 pm

UK charity slammed for long-running management failures

Luke Michael

Monday, 30th September 2019 at 4:08 pm

Charities urged to stay vigilant on advocacy rights

Luke Michael

Monday, 16th September 2019 at 4:58 pm

UK welcomes charity founder as new minister for the sector

Luke Michael

Friday, 2nd August 2019 at 5:10 pm


How are Aussie charities helping in the bushfire crisis?

Luke Michael

Tuesday, 7th January 2020 at 3:21 pm

What impact will the bushfire crisis have on homelessness?

Luke Michael

Wednesday, 15th January 2020 at 4:28 pm

The rise (and scepticism) of Facebook fundraisers

Maggie Coggan

Thursday, 16th January 2020 at 8:49 am

What about the charities?

Maggie Coggan

Wednesday, 8th January 2020 at 1:26 pm

subscribe to careers
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Get the social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!