Final report released by the Civil Society Futures Inquiry
The independent Civil Society Futures inquiry was funded by eight foundations: Baring Foundation, Barrow Cadbury, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, City Bridge Trust, Esmée Fairbairn, Lankelly Chase, Lloyds Bank Foundation and Paul Hamlyn Foundation, with additional research support provided by NCVO. Its remit was seemingly simple: “To consider the future for civil society”.
To do this we examined the environment in which civil society operates, the many pressures and changes it faces, and engaged groups, networks, organisations and individuals to develop a shared understanding of what the future might hold, and the role of civil society in shaping it.
The final report from the inquiry is now available as a downloadable PDF, or as an accessible and well-presented website. When it comes to summarising it, few approaches would come close to being as effective as simply quoting it directly:
It is a call for all of us in civil society – people, organisations and institutions – to commit to:
- Power: consciously shifting power in big ways, sharing more decision-making and control, being a model for the rest of society and doing whatever is needed so that everyone can play a full part in the things which matter to them.
- Accountability: holding ourselves accountable first and foremost to the communities and people we exist to serve, revolutionising our approach – including being more accountable to each other and to future generations.
- Connection: broadening and deepening our connections with people and communities – especially when it’s hardest – for this is the heart of civil society’s purpose, bridging the frequent divides that span our society and investing in a new social infrastructure for civil society.
- Trust: devoting the time and resources necessary to building trust – our core currency and foundation – earning trust by staying true to our values and standing up for them, and trusting others with vital decisions that affect them.
Some inquiries end with a list of specific recommendations, usually addressed to other people. This one ends with an urgent call for us all to behave differently in order to meet the challenges of the next decade.