Press release

Green Paper to put Big Society at heart of public service reform

Ministers have pledged to open up new opportunities in public services for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises.

Ministers have pledged to open up new opportunities in public services for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises.

The government has announced that a Green Paper will be published later this year to begin discussions on creating a level playing field for civil society organisations that want to bid for public service contracts. A Public Service Reform White Paper will be published next year.

At a summit at Number 11 Downing Street, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude, Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark and Civil Society Minister Nick Hurd also said that investment will be continued in a programme of training public service commissioners to work with civil society organisations. Two thousand commissioners have already been through the programme since it opened in 2006 and 3,000 are expected to have been trained by March 2011.

Social enterprises are also eligible to apply for funding from government’s £1.4 billion regional growth fund, which opened for applications last month.

Mr Maude said:

In the past, huge amounts of money have gone in to public services and been swallowed up by bureaucracy before it reached the frontline. A Big Society approach will drive improvements by giving power to people working on the ground who know how to do things better.

“I want to see a whole mix of providers. New models like public sector staff forming co-ops to run their services and civil society organisations forming new alliances with government and the private sector can drive this change. They will break down the old fashioned public service hierarchies and replace them with vibrant, efficient services that give people the support they need.

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