Community-led public service change

John Denham’s department announced the winning areas for the Inspiring Communities programme yesterday. This is a vital project that is exploring new ways of turning around a shortage of aspiration in some of our poorer communities. Its a good example of community driven reform of public services; on the one hand delivering services in a way that strengthens the local community – and on the other, draws on the strength of the community for its effectiveness. I made a speech on the idea to the Fabians a while ago. This is a growing field of work. In the US, President Obama is using similar ideas in the national roll-out of the Harlem Childrens’ Zone and other community based solutions honoured at the White House.

Speech to the RSA with Professor Amitai Etzioni

Fantastic event last night at the Royal Society of Arts, where I and renowned American communitarian philosopher Amitai Etzioni, spoke together on the theme of community.
Professor Etzioni is the leading exponent of communitarianism, and was here to help me think through some of the issues around using public service reform to strengthen our sense of community and responsibility. Having admired his work for many years, it was a privilege to meet him yesterday, and to engage with him and an the audience at the RSA. You can read my speech – which addressed the question ‘Do People Need Community Anymore?’ – here. And you can listen to an audio recording of the event here – http://tiny.cc/Ajk6L