Thomas Neumark is Associate Director of the Connected Communities project at the RSA, examining the role of online and offline social networks in building resilient, empowered communities and promoting mental well-being.
The aim of the Big Society is to develop “neighbourhoods who are in charge of their own destiny, who feel if they club together and get involved they can shape the world around them". One of the ironies of the government’s vision is that this end is quite removed from the means that have been announced so far.
Many of the government’s Big Society policies that have been announced so far centre around getting members of the public more involved in their local public services. This might be through setting up a free school, or attending meetings with the local police force or scrutinising the council’s expenditure.