With the public sector facing significant budget cuts and the emergence of the Big Society agenda it has never been more important for the public sector to work with local communities in a way that empowers individuals to address their own, particular needs.
The Coalition Government’s Public Health White Paper, for example, puts people and communities at the heart of future service provision.
As the under-representation of Men in the public sector is also reflected in the community and voluntary sector – due in part to the severe lack of funding for Men’s projects – a predominantly female public and not-for-profit sector is not in strong in position to work with Men and Boys to deliver community-led services in the future.
What this means is that even if the Big Society leads to more volunteer-led public service, the Low Male Social Capital of most communities means that Men and Boys will continue to be under-represented by both the public service workforce and the communities that get involved in helping to deliver those services.
Some examples of this already in action include:
- Schools where the majority of volunteers and parent helpers are women
- Mentoring where the majority of children needing mentoring are male and the majority of mentors are female
- Health trainers – a programme of 1-2-1 support for issues such as weight loss and smoking reduction where the majority of people needing support are men but the majority of volunteer health trainers are women and the majority of people accessing services are women too.
In 2011 we will continue to identify sectors and services where the public sector is not working effectively with Men and Boys and seek new ways to help Men and Boys get involved in helping to deliver services eg by recruiting more male mentors and health trainers and taking action to get more Men involved in education.