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The UK has one of the most centralised states in the developed world and one of the more disaffected and politically estranged populations in Europe.


Society (Cont.)

We hold our leaders in contempt, but despair of doing anything for ourselves or for our community. This dysfunction, which is evident at every level of society, stems from the collapse of our social relations and personal foundations. We are becoming an increasingly fragmented and atomised society, and this has deep and damaging consequences for our families, our communities and our polity.

At the most basic level, the break-up of families damages everyone, but hurts the very poorest first and worst. Too many children at the bottom of our society are at a significant disadvantage, as too much is borne by lone parents who are trying to do more and more with less and less. We know that the poorer you are, the less connected with your wider society you tend to be and the more removed from the traditional resources of community and kin. Bereft of the institutions and structures that could help them, and cut-adrift from traditions and cultures that once taught skills of survival and self-advancement, too many families and communities on low household incomes are deeply unstable and are facing seemingly insurmountable problems alone, unadvised and unassisted.

We believe that power should be devolved to the lowest appropriate level. Public services and neighbourhoods should be governed and shaped from the ‘bottom up’, by families and communities and their associations. Neighbourhoods need to be served by a range of providers that incorporate and empower their inhabitants. Moving away from a topdown siloed approach to service delivery, which results in departmental conflicts and an array of targets, such activity should be driven by a holistic and integrated vision of overall local need – a vision that can ascertain and address the most challenging factors that prevent human flourishing. We believe that neither state bureaucracy nor privatisation of public services is attentive to either whole persons or the life of communities considered in the round. Instead, we need new institutions that reflect the priority of direct and inter-personal human relationships. Not only is such a method more humane, it is also likely to be the only approach that works.

Society Workstreams

A new devolved future for Britain’s mid-size cities

The challenge: An unequal and diverging Brexit Britain Britain’s cities and regions face real and growing challenges post-Brexit. It is vital that growth is delivered...

  • Comments Off on Britain’s Diplomatic Strength: Harnessing soft power in a post-Brexit world
Britain’s Diplomatic Strength: Harnessing soft power in a post-Brexit world

ResPublica, in partnership with the British Council, is undertaking a project on soft power and the vital role of institutions in British foreign policy. Institutions...

Making social reform work for vulnerable young people

Since taking office, the new Prime Minister’s rhetoric has made clear her determination to help young people from all backgrounds to go as far as...

Civil Society and social welfare

Since its inception, ResPublica has argued that civil society and private business in the UK and other countries have a crucial social responsibility. We believe...

Social Reform

ResPublica has launched its Social Reform programme to overcome the defining political issue of our time: the great divides of wealth and power across the...

ResPublica North

Over the past seven years, ResPublica has been at the heart of the debate over devolution in the UK. We have provided the intellectual groundwork...

What future for unaccompanied child migrants in the UK?

The Government’s Written Statement of February this year stated that, based on conversations with local authorities, councils in the UK had an estimated capacity to...

Backing Beauty Commission

Our Backing Beauty Commission is a campaign to put beauty, placemaking and community participation at the heart of local planning and wider public policy. Through...