Published: 2nd Feb 2011

The task of translating the rhetoric of Big Society into policy is revealing some fundamental flaws, argues Gabriel Chanan For a while after the election in May it looked as though the whole idea of big society would be killed off by scorn from the Tory mainstream itself, or simply evaporate in the midst of all the hot air for lack of resources and clear direction. But gradually some shape began to loom out of the mist. A handful of local authorities were prodded to step forward as ‘exemplars’. A swathe of vulnerable third sector organisations sought refuge in rebranding themselves as Big Society initiatives. White papers on health and policing gingerly incorporated Big Society phraseology. The Department for Communities and Local Government headlined its whole programme as ‘taking power away from Whitehall and putting it into the hands of people and communities’ – while sweeping away the still youthful … (To read the full article, subscribe below)