Barnet Banks on Big Society

Author: Dermott Caplin, the MJ   |  

London’s ‘easy council’ Barnet has set up a Big Society Innovation Bank and is inviting residents and not-for-profit community groups to bid for funding local projects.
A total of œ600,000 has been set aside to found the Innovation Bank over the next three years with a deadline of Friday, July 29 set aside for the submission of bids for the first year’s œ200,000 allocation and sums of between œ500 and œ50,000 available to help turn bright ideas into reality.

The scheme is designed to encourage a creative or entrepreneurial approach to local issues and all the bids will be assessed for their ability to develop new ideas to solve old community problems or for tasking an innovative approach to providing a council-run service.

Famous for its innovative ‘easy council’ approach to public service delivery, the London Borough of Barnet has joined forces with the think-tank Localis to promote Big Society initiatives within the borough.

Charities, social enterprise and volunteering minister Nick Hurd visited the borough for the launch of the Innovation Bank and the publication of ‘Barnet’s Big Society’ pamphlet which details examples of community initiatives within the borough.

Written by former council leader Lynne Hillan, who recently retired because of ill health, she says in her introduction:’This pamphlet looks at the role councils could and should play in the Big Society and at the pricatial ways that we in local government can develop and benefit from the Big Society.’

Cllr Robert Rams, Barnet’s member for customer access and partnerships, said:’We have funded the Big Society Innovation Bank with reductions in senior management pay as the council has adapted to the changing financial climate.

‘We believe a small amount of money can help unleash a lot of energy to develop entirely new ways of addressing local issues. People with the best solutions to tackling local problems are often those with their ear closest to the ground.’

Click here to read the original article

Barnet’s Big Society: a practical perspective from local government

Click here to read the full report

Click here to find out more about the Innovation Bank