We are helping people to come together to improve their own lives. The Big Society is about putting more power in people's hands - a massive transfer of power from Whitehall to local communities. We want to see people encouraged and enabled to play a more active role in society.
The bigger picture
• Up to 30,000 young people will take part in National Citizen Service this year, increasing to 90,000 by 2014.
• We have cut inheritance tax for those who leave more than 10 per cent of their estate to charity.
• We have overseen a revolution in government transparency with more data than ever before now published for all to see.
Action to date
• We have launched National Citizen Service – a scheme which brings together young people from different backgrounds to work together and give something back. It is a voluntary programme that includes fun and challenging activities, away-from-home residential experiences and a self-designed social action project.
• We are training Community Organisers to identify local leaders and bring people together to act on what matters to in their communities. Over 100 Organisers have either completed or started their training.
• We have established an £80 million Community First fund to provide small grants to community groups and local social action projects and establish an endowment that communities can draw from for years to come.
• By 2014 there will be 90,000 NCS places available and it is our ambition that there will ultimately be places available for all 16-year-olds.
• Over the three years we will allocate £40 million through the Social Action Fund to back ambitious social action campaigns that aim to mobilise large numbers of people to transform the communities around them.
• We will deliver 5,000 Community Organisers overall.
Stimulating charitable giving
Action to date
• We have reduced inheritance tax from 40 per cent to 36 per cent for those leaving 10 per cent or more of their estate to charity.
• We have increased the Gift Aid benefit limit from £500 to £2,500 to enable charities to give 'thank you' gifts, to recognise the generosity of significant donors.
• We brought banks and ATM operators together to deliver charitable giving through ATMs. People can now give to charity as they withdraw cash at thousands of ATMs across the country.
• From 6 April 2013, we will introduce our Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, which will allow charities to claim Gift Aid on donations up to £5,000 without the need for Gift Aid declarations.
Delivering more government transparency
Action to date
• We have ensured every item of central government spending over £25,000 is now published.
• We have encouraged local councils to publish every item of spending over £500. Labour Nottingham finally agreed to this basic transparency requirement, becoming the last council to do so.
• We have published the name, job title, grade, employer and annual pay rate of every civil servant and everyone working in a non-departmental public body earning over £150,000 a year.
• We have ensured details of new ICT tenders and contracts are now published online.
• We have set a minimum standard for all departments to publish data in a format that is both open and re-usable.
• Our Crime Maps allow the public to access key crime and policing information, raise issues of concern and take an active role in tracking and tackling crime and antisocial behaviour.
• We have published more information than ever before in school league tables.
• We will continue to enhance the 'right to data'.
• Across government and the public services we will strive to increase transparency further so that families have much more information at their fingertips.
Creating Big Society Capital – the first ever social investment bank
Action to date
• We have launched the first ever social investment bank – Big Society Capital.
• Big Society Capital invests in social investment finance intermediaries, developing their capacity to provide social sector organisations with access to new, appropriate and affordable sources of finance to increase their social impact.
• Big Society Capital is funded from dormant bank accounts as well as money provided by the banks as part of Project Merlin.
• Big Society Capital has already announced £37 million of initial investment commitments.
• Big Society Capital will ultimately have an estimated £600 million of equity, of which £400 million will come from dormant bank accounts and £200 million will be provided by the UK’s largest high street banks.