Big Society

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The Big Society page brings together resources and news on the coalition policy. Big Society is the flagship policy idea of the 2010 Conservative Party general election manifesto and forms part of the legislative programme of the Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement.

UK social economy: Francis Maude speech

The Minister for Cabinet Office spoke at Chivas Strathisla distillery on the UK as a global hub for social enterprise and social investment.

Survey providers of learning and skills in the third sector

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has commissioned a partnership to carry out research examining the role of the VCS in bo

Big Society Capital launched

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has officially launched the £600million social investment wholesaler Big Society Capital. Big Society Capital will invest in organisations that lend money to charities and social enterprises. It is funded with money from unclaimed assets in dormant bank accounts, believed to be worth around £400million over the next four years, and with £200million from four major high-street banks. The organisation has been ready to start lending since the New Year, but has been awaiting approvals from the Financial Services Authority and the Cabinet Office.

EU approves Big Society Capital's use of dormant accounts

The European Commission has approved the use of up to £400million from dormant bank accounts to set up Big Society Capital (BSC). The approval under EU state aid rules had been given faster than expected, as it was predicted that a decision from the Commission would take up to 18 months, resulting in a delay in setting up BSC, which is currently making social investments through an interim committee within the Big Lottery Fund. BSC is still seeking Financial Services Authority (FSA) authorisation, and aims to be open for business in the first quarter of next year.

First audit of Big Society launched

The first audit of Big Society, and the effectiveness of policies to shift power from government to civil society, has been launched and is expected to be published early in 2012. Think tank Civil Exchange, research organisation Democratic Audit and social policy communications group DHA, will conduct the audit after consulting with government, academics and others about how to gauge the effectiveness or achievements of the social policy.

Community volunteering medal reintroduced

The British Empire Medal (BEM), awarded as part of the Queen"s Honours system to British citizens making a difference in their communities until 1992, will be reintroduced in the Diamond Jubilee Honours list in June 2012.

Associated with the Order of the British Empire (OBE), the BEM was established in the same year, 1917. It was originally split into two medals, one for exceptional civil service and one for military gallantry, and was awarded to those who did not qualify to be made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

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