Digital to drive Government Civil Society Strategy

Government calls for better apps and ‘digital technology-for-good’ to boost democratic innovation and bolster charities’ work across age ranges, among other proposals.

James Hayes | 9th Aug 18
Image shows cover of Civil Society report. What’s being billed as the first Civil Society Strategy proposal for 15 years places communities at the centre of decision-making, and focuses on five key foundations.

The UK Government’s first Civil Society Strategy proposal for 15 years has been unveiled today. The strategy claims to place communities at the centre of decision-making, and focuses on five key foundations of social value: people, places and the public, private and social sectors.

The charity sector strategy compliments plans to grow the UK’s economy and boost productivity by ‘building a more connected society’, where ‘everyone can play their part in a fairer, healthier and more prosperous country’.

It aims to create more opportunities for people to actively take part in community decisions, as well as highlighting ways to harness the power of digital and technology ‘for public good’, according to a Government statement.

Civil Society Strategy actions include:

  • The launch of an ‘Innovation in Democracy’ pilot scheme in six regions across the country. This will trial ways for people to take a more direct role in decisions that affect their local area. This could include ‘citizens juries’ or mass participation in decision-making on community issues via an online poll or app.
  • Use of digital technology-for-good to improve the work charities can provide to support healthy ageing, bolster online safety, and better connect people in an effort to tackle loneliness.
  • Unlocking £20m from ‘inactive’ charitable trusts (those which spend less than 30% of annual income) to support community organisations over the next two years. The work will be carried out in conjunction with the Charity Commission and UK Community Foundations.
  • The establishment of an independent organisation that will distribute £90m from dormant bank accounts to get disadvantaged young people into employment.
  • The creation of an independent organisation to use £55m from dormant bank accounts to tackle financial exclusion and the problem of access to affordable credit.
  • Support of charities to make their voices heard on issues that matter to them and ensuring that charitable trustees reflect the diversity of the society they serve.
  • Strengthening the UK’s values of corporate responsibility, through the launch of a leadership group, formed of figures from the business, investment and social sectors, to put social and environmental responsibility at the heart of company decisions.
  • Improvements to the use of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 to ensure that organisations can generate more social value for communities when spending public money on government contracts.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Our modern Industrial Strategy has set out a long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK, building a Britain which is fit for the future.”

“Strengthening the UK’s business environment and growing thriving communities are mutually reinforcing, which is why the Civil Society Strategy is so important in helping to foster further partnerships between government, business, civil society and local communities – bringing improved prosperity across the UK.”

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