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Big Society Capital, the government’s social investment ‘bank’, is now accepting loan bids. The £600m institution aims to make it easier for charities, social enterprises and community groups to access finance.
DCMS permanent secretary Jonathan Stephens runs a small department with the job of helping people have fun. But Matt Ross learns that, these days, DCMS is focused on the serious business of earning money for UK plc
Ten councils have signed up to a new payment-by-results scheme that rewards councils for helping ‘troubled families’ by sharing with them the savings created as the demands on social services, criminal justice and other services decline.
5-7 Blandford St, London W1U 3DB
Communities and Local Government Committee chair Clive Betts has known Bob Kerslake for years, and doesn’t doubt his commitment to localism – but some departments are less enthusiastic, he tells Joshua Chambers
The civil service has been a front runner in treating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB & T) workers fairly. Same sex adoption and parenting leave is available, same sex partners are recognised in pensions, and there are LGB & T staff networks.
The Public Services (Social Value) Bill has been passed by Parliament. It says that civil servants commissioning services must give consideration to economic, social and environmental wellbeing.
Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, London
Until 5 April
Almeida Theatre, Islington
Until 10 March
Departmental select committee chairs have provided mixed reviews of the departments they scrutinise for a Civil Service World Special Report, which has found that 40 per cent of them are dissatisfied with departments’ responses to their reports.
66 Broadway, Westminster
London SW1H 1DB
Subtlety is a rare but valuable characteristic. A little nuance never does any harm, while a gung-ho machismo can get you in all sorts of trouble.
Selected by Simon Schama
Until 26 February
Leading figures in local government argued that there’s no evidence of the economic need for reform of the planning system at the Local Government Summit last week.
750ml, £38.80 and £65
Labour MP Anne Begg was press-ganged into becoming an expert on benefits, but has since learnt to love the topic. She enthuses to Joshua Chambers about her role as chair of the work and pensions select committee
The Homes and Communities Agency has its formal launch on 1 December, charged with fostering housebuilding and regeneration. The economic climate could barely be more daunting – but Matt Ross finds its new head, Sir Bob Kerslake, characteristically relaxed