Galileo Round Table Tuesday November 30th 5.30 – 7.00pm

‘The Big Society is exemplified by the coffee chain Starbucks, it provides
space for people to come together, which is what we are all about’ – Nick
Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, Conservative Party Conference 2010

‘Big Society: all froth and no substance?’

a Galileo Round Table Tuesday November 30th 5.30 – 7.00pm

The Big Society is intended to represent a fundamental change in the
relationship between citizens, the voluntary and community sector (VCS) and
the public sector. It has three core components: empowering communities,
opening up public services and promoting social action. It seeks to give the
VCS ‘a huge range of new opportunities to shape and provide innovative,
bottom-up services where expensive state provision has failed’.

There are a series of emerging policy statements which include communities
running local services, co-production of public services, transferring power
and assets, developing community organisers, new networks and
infrastructure, an emphasis on volunteering and social innovation.

These changes are to be achieved against a backdrop of £81 billion of public
expenditure cuts. Perhaps  not surprisingly a recent survey* indicated
widespread scepticism from those working in voluntary organisations and
local government about the initiatives.

This Galileo Round Table will discuss these fundamental issues that are
inevitably going to become more and more central to our way of working. How
will cross-sectoral relationships be changed? To what extent will social
action, civic engagement and volunteering really be encouraged and have
influence? What are the implications for small neighbourhood groups? Will
the rise and rise of social enterprises and entrepreneurs change the
landscape? Will asset transfer deliver power as well?

* survey carried out by Third Sector and Local Government Chronicle between
23 September and 8 October 2010

You are invited to a Galileo Round Table to discuss and debate these issues.
The meeting will be chaired by David Billis (Emeritus Reader at the LSE) and
a  facilitator will raise the key arguments and invite contributions from
all participants. If you have a specific viewpoint, based upon your
experience or research, please let us know beforehand.

The Round Table will be held at LSE  Room U103 Tower One in Clements Inn.
There will be no charge for this event but please let me know by Tuesday
23rd November if you are able to attend (

Yours sincerely
Terry Connor – on behalf of the Galileo Management Committee.

The Galileo Group is an informal community of academics and practitioners
who share an interest in the voluntary and community sector. The Group is
primarily concerned with organisation and management and all the
“environmental factors” which have an impact on organisations – with a
particular emphasis on the links between theory and practice (rather than
techniques and processes).

The Galileo Group organises regular seminars which bring together academics
researching, and individuals working in the sector to discuss issues of
broad interest.  Our aim is to create a collegiate and supportive forum
where current organisational problems can be discussed in an analytic

Galileo Group is entirely voluntary and institutionally independent.  We
welcome new members and participants who:

a) work in the voluntary sector and are interested in discussing their
organisational challenges/problems and setting these in a broader context;
b) working in educational institutions who wish to test their emerging ideas
and potential relevance for organisations and
c) all others concerned with the sector and its boundaries and whose work
and whose interests fall into the above.

We are not an academic research institute, but aim to create an environment
in which new ideas and approaches can be debated.  All discussions take
place within ‘Chatham House Rules’.


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