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Increasingly burdens are being placed on charities to pick up service obligations previously provided by the state. Seven years and three governments after the Big Society project began, this debate will interrogate the shift towards third sector service provision, and ask what the implications are for citizens, civil society, and democracy.

Watch the 12th Annual UCL and Bindmans debate, chaired by Polly Toynbee of the Guardian. Recent tragedies such as the disaster at Grenfell Tower and the terrorist attacks in Manchester have elicited huge responses from civil society, and a bigger role than ever for third sector groups – is this to be celebrated as a renaissance of community spirit, or does it simply highlight the failure of central government to do its job? The debate also examines how well equipped is the third sector to fill the gaps left by an increasingly lean state, and what does it mean for democratic accountability when things go wrong?

The Panel

  • Mark Littlewood (Director General, Institute of Economic Affairs
  • Sir Stuart Etherington (Chief Executive, NCVO)
  • Karol Sikora (Oncologist and Campaigner)
  • Fiona Mactaggart

This video was produced by UCL Faculty of Laws.

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