The main topic of the dissertation is the innovative Conservative-Liberal Democratic plan of the Big Society, aiming at liberalizing the public sector from an excessive incidence and influence by public institutions and reaching a new conception of “human needs”, empowering local people and communities.
Consequently, after an investigation of the innovative range of the Big Society plan, addressed to understand if it entails a paradigm change for the British Welfare State or just an incremental policy change, following the previous governments’ reforms, the second purpose of this study is to capture the viability of the new policies, located not only in a peculiar welfare state structure, but also in a particular historical time, requesting huge retrenchment.
Accordingly, a combined approach involving a comparison among the main OECD countries in the wake of Esping-Andersen analysis and an historical methodology focusing on the last fifties years' social policy, underline an unbroken line among the British social policy, supporting an institutionalist theory.
Subsequently, making use of civic involvement survey's figures, it will be evaluate the viability of the plan implied in the willingness of the British citizen to be accountable of the public sector and an analytical study will provide data for the first achievements of the Big Society devolving power to local communities and charities in the sake of fighting for the welfare sustainability, threatened by the red tape cut back.
The ensued limitation of the methodology adopted during six months of scrupulous research at the London School of Economics and Political Science, dwells in the short-term of the policy implementation, requesting time to reach a new conception of civic involvement and of public sector accountability.
Nevertheless, the comparative and historical approaches revealing continuity in the British social policy allow some forecasts regarding the trend of the plan.