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With or Without Permission: How the 'Big Society' Came to the Aid of the Thatcher Government

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You have probably heard, either as an expression or as a title, of 'The Big Society' Although ideas of what this means range from 'don't know' to the better informed who might say 'it depends on who you are speaking to.' Here the author sets down his memories of being involved in a project during the years of the Thatcher Administration. Reportedly the Prime Minister was quite pleased that this piece of the Big Society did achieve much that was desirable.

 

The Thatcher Era had seen the demise of much of manufacturing industry, and this is when people seconded from industry and businesses alighted on local communities to help in the difficult economic and social circumstances. This was indeed part of The Big Society in action.

 

So "WITH or Without PERMISSION" is about what it meant to be such a secondee at this time, and also provides some historic detail for this period of national upheaval. Seconded Managers and Executives found themselves in situations which they could not have possibly foreseen. As for example, if the author had been told that he would have to write a proposal covering the theatrical side of a major historical re-enactment, he would probably have said, 'Don't be daft.' The secondees had the nominal, but detached, support of the Prime Minister, and later HRH The Prince of Wales, but how they were to succeed, or fail, would be down to the individual. Whatever the impediments, or the opportunities to improve a situation, they would live with the consequences of their own decision making.

 

The word 'secondees' - the author respectfully suggests that this word be approved as part of the English language, since it was, and is, so widely used.

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