Call for contributions

Call for contributions

Public call for evidence: help us gather existing knowledge and insights into the future of civil society in England.

What counts as civil society?

There is little agreement over what civil society is and how it may be changing. The approach of the Inquiry is to view civil society in the broadest possible terms to ensure we capture and take account of its shifting landscape. We wish to extend far beyond the formal definitions constrained by activity attached to official organisations, to take account of the diversity of organisational forms within associational life independent of the state that seek to address the widest possible range of social and environmental issues.

To put it another way, civil society is all of us. When we act not for profit nor because the law requires us to, but out of love or anger or creativity, or principle, we are civil society. When we bring together our friends or colleagues or neighbours to have fun or to defend our rights or to look after each other, we are civil society. Whether we organise through informal friendship networks, Facebook groups, community events and protests; or formal committees, charities, faiths and trade unions, whether we block runways or co-ordinate coffee mornings, do charity runs or make music for fun; when we organise ourselves outside the market and the state, we are all civil society. And if any of these things – or many more – apply to you, we want to hear from you.

How are things changing?

As part of the call for evidence, we want you to tell us what you think the future holds for civil society. How will the different forms of civic network respond to social, political, environmental and technological change? What types of civil society organisation will be important over the next decade? What purpose will civil society need to fulfill in the future? What do you think they should be doing? What do you think they will find themselves doing but should steer well clear of?

We would welcome any relevant data, research reports, interviews, examples of best practice, and other evidence for issues affecting the future of civil society. There is a lot to learn from other countries, so relevant international contributions are also encouraged. Responses can be any length and multimedia contributions are encouraged. Contributions may be shared publicly on the online hub, so your submissions will support the creation an open source bank of research into the future of civil society. We’re also seeking opinion pieces on the same topics – you can get in touch with Joe, [email protected], if you would like to contribute to the hub in other ways.

The call for evidence builds on an initial literature review and will help expand and deepen this initial review and its associated open database. This call will further inform the future research direction of the inquiry.

The call for contributions sits alongside a strand of research via community workshops in eight locations across England. Further engagement via a series of Civil Society Futures Conversations will be running in parallel for communities of practise, interest or locality. Find out more about how you can get involved.

All submissions received will be reviewed by the Inquiry panel members and a synthesis will be shared on this online hub as appropriate. We may have an additional call for evidence in Jan 2018 depending on initial submissions.

Deadline for initial submissions is Tuesday 31st October 2017 – via the below form.

For any queries, please contact Khadra – [email protected]


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20th June 2017

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