Civil Society Futures is a national conversation about how English civil society can flourish in a fast changing world.

The civil society I know: Simon Duffy

In our series of interviews with key civil society figures, we ask them about the sector they know, how it has changed and how it will. Here we talk to Simon Duffy, founder and Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform. What’s your biggest hope for civil society in the next ten years? Civil society … Read more

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Feed into the Inquiry: everyone’s perspective is unique, so we want to hear from all of you.

Civil society in an age of surveillance: beyond techno-legal solutionism?

In an age of data-driven surveillance, how is civil society impacted? And how have activists sought to resist it? As many recent revelations – from the Snowden leaks to WikiLeaks’ Vault7 files – have shown, the monitoring and analysis of data traffic is now an integral part of government and corporate practice. The sources of … Read more

Speech: Julia Unwin launches Civil Society Futures

The full text of Julia Unwin’s speech to NCVO’s annual conference launching Civil Society Futures This is the right time and the right place to launch this major new inquiry. It will not be an inquiry into how we are now – important though that is. Instead, it will be an inquiry into what the … Read more

Welcome to Civil Society Futures

Welcome to Civil Society Futures. Over the next two years, we’ll be facilitating a conversation across England about how civil society can flourish in a fast-changing world. And to do that, we’ll need all of you. Whether you are the CEO of a national charity or volunteer with a local community group, you have a … Read more

50 trends which will define the next decade (what have we missed?)

Projecting into next week is almost impossible. Doing so for the next decade is even harder. But when the Civil Society Futures team gathered for our first away days in Birmingham, we brainstormed some of the trends which we think are likely to unfold in the next ten years. Many – though by no means … Read more

Organising the workers whose jobs are made precarious by technology

In early 2015, a group of bicycle couriers got together to work out how they could get a pay rise. They hadn’t had one in 15 years, while costs inflated by 58%, meaning a pay cut of over a third in real terms. In February of that year they joined the Independent Workers Union of … Read more

Platform co-ops: how civil society needs to own the technology of the future

For most of the last decade, I’ve been a reporter, covering stories on how technology is reshaping public life, from debates about God to protests in the streets. One thing I’ve noticed is that Internet culture has an odd way of using a really important word: democracy. When a new app is said to be … Read more

Civil society history: We should remember James Parkinson for more than the disease that bears his name

200 years ago, the iconic doctor published his paper discribing a now well known disease. But his other pamphlets were of a more revolutionary nature…

The debates in the voluntary sector have raged for a century

As the National Council for Voluntary Organisation approaches its centenary, its history shows that many of the debates among voluntary organisations now are the same ones as have been playing out for decades. History until fairly recently has not been particularly kind to the voluntary movement. Its story has tended to be told either through … Read more

The civil society I know: David Emerson

To launch the Inquiry into Civil Society, we interview some people about the sector that they know: how it has changed and how it will. First up is David Emerson, the former chief executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations. What’s your biggest hope for civil society in the next ten years? My hopes are … Read more

Welcome to the Civil Society Futures online hub

“Mankind have always wandered or settled, agreed or quarrelled, in troops and companies. The cause of their assembling, whatever it be, is the principle of their alliance or union.” Adam Ferguson’s Essay on the History of Civil Society, 1767. Since the Scottish philosopher Adam Ferguson coined the term ‘civil society’ in a seminal eighteenth century essay on … Read more