Friday, 23 August 2013

Escaping the pack

Civil society must start meeting its potential and contribute fully to the public good

an article by Kurt Hoffman published in RSA Journal (Summer 2013)

The UK charity sector is a major conduit for state help and public munificence. It seeks to tackle social problems that, if not adequately addressed, can have significant economic and social costs. Civil society is best placed to catalyse the inclusive, democratic and community-based approaches needed to solve the more intractable challenges that threaten the stability of mature economies like the UK.

Unfortunately, the UK’s civil society as currently configured cannot fill this role. Creating the right conditions so that it can is not simply a matter of getting more funding to those on the frontline of social change. Nor is it an issue of overcoming a lack of competence and good intentions, both assets that the charity sector enjoys in great abundance. Rather, the biggest obstacles lie in a set of financial, behavioural, regulatory and structural manacles that have caused the sector’s systemic underperformance over many years.

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