When civil society and government work well together, everyone gains. A strong partnership helps connect society to government and revitalises the services on which we all depend.

It’s an exchange that can bring enormous value.  The voluntary sector changes the lives of many individuals.   But when it works with government,  society itself can be transformed.   Civil Society “know how” can help government find fresh solutions,  unlock new potential and provide innovative services for people and communities.  Government can bring charities, social enterprises and community organisations greater impact.

Civil Exchange is a think tank that exists to help government and the voluntary sector work better together:

  • Identifying opportunities and new ways of working.
  • Breaking down barriers and increasing understanding of what each needs from each other.
  • Raising everyone’s awareness of the added value of a vibrant voluntary sector to government and society.

It acts as a “link tank,” connecting with other organisations and individuals with expertise and knowledge to exchange ideas and find new solutions.  To learn more about Civil Exchange, click here.

Civil Exchange published the second Big Society Audit 2013 on 9 December 2013, a comprehensive review of what has been happening in practice against public commitments.  For more information, also look at our news page.  The next Audit is due in December 2014.


We will be publishing a book of essays by voluntary sector leaders, Making Good: the future of the voluntary sector,  on 10 November.  Contributors are asking tough questions such as:

  • How can the sector avoid getting sucked into simply picking up the pieces, as the state cuts back its spending, or avoid simply becoming a delivery agent of public services that no longer work?
  • How can the sector retain its authentic voice and vital connection to local and disadvantaged communities, in a contract culture that can sometimes pull it away?
  • Is the familiar model of charity becoming outdated in the context of social and political change?
  • Are we measuring the right things?
  • Who is standing up for charities when times get tough?

Abridged versions of individual essays are being published in Civil Society News and the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network and are also available here - do join the debate #makinggood.  More details here.