And while 46 per cent think it is a good idea in principle, 68 per cent think it will not work. Almost three in five think it is a smokescreen to cover up the effects of the cuts.
Bell Pottinger Public Affairs chairman Peter Bingle said of the findings: ‘The fundamental problem with the Big Society idea is that it has never been defined. Perhaps it was a deliberate strategy for it to be nebulous and inchoate. Or perhaps there was insufficient thinking and research before it was launched. Either way nobody currently understands what it means.’
This week, Phillip Blond, who helped develop the Big Society idea, admitted the project was in difficulty. ‘The Big Society agenda is still not widely grasped or shared across all departments,’ said Blond.
Freelance public affairs consultant Lionel Zetter said of the poll that the Big Society was ‘a hard concept to sell on the doorstep during the general election campaign - and it is still largely unrecognised and unloved’.
Zetter added: ‘Part of the problem is that the local and national government officials who should be developing it recognise it for what it is - an attempt to make them superfluous.How should it be sold? As a bottom-up solution to society's problems, existing and developing. The man in Whitehall and the woman in the town hall does not necessarily know best.’