The Big Society debate has started. The question remains as to what it all means, but perhaps that is the wrong question. Is the real question about the preparedness of the NHS, Criminal Justice System and Local Authorities to reconsider their roles?
Should the roles be that of a strategic enabler, a commissioner rather than the monopoly supplier of services?
Why do we have to have a probation service dealing with all offenders, could the voluntary sector offer a better alternative? It might be cheaper and more cost effective, even obtain better results. Why can’t homeless services be given a greater role in the personal development of residents in a deprived community?
In this ever changing world of scarce resources now is perhaps the time to think of radical solutions but will the voluntary sector be able to have this debate with the statutory sector? Is there a will for innovation to come to the fore, could we see the voluntary sector embraced by the statutory sector, as new service models are developed?