How Viable Is the Big Society? Perceptions from Environmental NGOs in the United Kingdom

  • Rory Shand
  • Roger Higman
Part of the IIAS Series: Governance and Public Management book series (GPM)


The Big Society emphasises enterprise, voluntarism and entrepreneurial spirit to inspire communities. This chapter explores how the Big Society agenda fits with the environmental NGO sector in the United Kingdom. Given the large amount of wide-ranging, deep and immediate cuts expe-rienced by many actors in the voluntary, NGO and charitable sector since the Comprehensive Spending Review of 2010, the Big Society provides opportunities but also has attracted virulent criticism as an apparent smokescreen for these cuts in government funding. This chapter examines the role of the environmental NGO sector in implementing the Big Society on the ground, examining relations between the key actors and resource providers in delivery of projects. The ideas behind the Big Society have formed part of Mr Cameron’s discourse for a long time. It is his solution to what he perceives as Britain’s ‘broken society’ and his alternative to what he calls ‘big government’ of the previous Labour administration. It was also his means of clearly demarcating his premiership from that of his Conservative predecessor, Margaret Thatcher, who famously claimed that ‘there is no such thing as society’.


Environmental Leader British Politics Change Government Policy Charitable Sector Core Executive 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Rory Shand and Roger Higman 2014

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  • Rory Shand
  • Roger Higman

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