The election of a new coalition government in the United Kingdom (UK) in May 2010 has led to a change of direction in third sector policy within England, referred to by the new government as ‘building the Big Society’. The immediate legacy for this new policy environment in the policies
of the previous government and the politics of the election campaign is summarised. The key commitments of the Big Society agenda are outlined and the broader ideological context of this critically explored. Some of the implications for third sector policy and practice are identified and the
paper closes by questioning whether the Big Society agenda may threaten third sector unity.
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