Big Society Suffolk: has Society won?

The Big Question is – have we, the people of Suffolk, won?  Jeremy Pemberton has gone.  The new leader of the Council, Mark Bee, was elected on a promise of ‘reviewing’ the New Strategic Direction and engaging in a more extensive process of consultation.  Andrea Hill looks like she is on the way out.

In many ways – all good news.  However, one suspects that the lessons learnt are that the way you need to go about this has to change, not necessarily what it is you want to do.  After all, you do have to think that the way the Council went about this was sensationally stupid.  Why was there not even a basic plan, supported by proper research and analysis?  Why on earth select libraries and lollypop ladies as your first targets for divestment?  Why not consider the day-to-day impact on your ability to operate of essentially declaring the imminent redundancy of all of your staff?  Crazy stuff.

Anyway – I am sure that the Council is still going to press ahead with the transference of huge areas of taxpayer funded responsibilities to the private sector.  They are just going to do it with less ideological fanfare but probably still minimal consultation.  We are still waiting for Serco.  The real story behind the Big Society remains, only its presentation is likely to change.

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1 Response to “Big Society Suffolk: has Society won?”


  1. 1 Felixstowe Radio June 13, 2011 at 8:41 am

    We applied for an SCDC contract to tell the council what to do with the Spa Pavilion. When I say ‘we’ I mean 30 local professionals from architects to theatre professionals to lawyers – and the public using our community radio station.

    We were rated last of the six tenderers: see our application at http://www.spapavilion.co.uk.

    Now we must see what the two ladies from London, who won the contract, come up with.

    Then we wait for the Council’s decision. Big Society in action. Local group ignored whenever possible. Is that what’s happeining?

    We saw Guinvere Penchant, Director for Culture, 0n 5 September 2010 about library closures – we wanted to tell local people what was happening. Oh no. Instead we were told that our three Suffolk County councillors were no longer allowed to broadcast as there was a chance we may apply for any contract.


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