The Big Society Isn’t Dead

The association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations says the Big Society is dead, because organisations in the voluntary sector have suffered funding cuts. ACEVO consists of two thousand chief executives, and some of the biggest voluntary sector organisations are represented in the network. If each of those chief executives earned a maximum annual salary of fifty thousand pounds, their combined annual salary would be a hundred million pounds. I don’t know their annual combined salary, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a lot higher than a hundred million pounds. If added to this combined salary were the annual salaries of everybody in the represented voluntary sector organisations who earns over fifty thousand pounds, the figure would be considerably higher. Newspapers should conduct research into the misuse of money by large voluntary sector organisations. They claim not to have enough money, but the truth is they have too much money, and they spend money that could be spent on service provision on high salaries for people who are obviously in the voluntary sector for the money. I say obviously, because if somebody joined a voluntary sector organisation just so they could do something good for that charity’s target demographic, I don’t think they would demand a high salary.

The concept of the Big Society isn’t about greedy voluntary sector organisations or their greedy chief executives; it is about people helping others. They can do that by working or volunteering for a voluntary sector organisation, but a person’s ability to help others isn’t always dependent on voluntary sector organisations having enough money, or even on the existence of voluntary sector organisations. Were there to be no public or voluntary sector organisations, the Big Society could still be achieved. The government isn’t in charge of the Big Society, and nor is the voluntary sector. The concept is called the Big Society, because it is about society as a whole helping others.

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