As the pressures grow on the economy, it is inevitable that there is a growing debate over the role of local authorities and government in society. It is understandable that the Prime Minister is arguing that there is only so much which the state can do to solve issues but there are still a growing number of concerns growing across society.
However, there are growing examples of companies stepping forward and quietly supporting communities and society. In a conversation with one CEO of a major organisation, it was noted how the company is actively sponsoring the training and development of talent from the poorest communities learn new trades; to help develop real skills which can then provide a more secure road in life.
This is not an isolated example. Private companies, all across the country, are taking up the mantle of having social purpose and supporting where they can. Despite all the cynicism expressed about leadership and private enterprise, it is playing an increasingly important role across society.
Some argue that business can fill a gap left open by failings in the public sector but this is not a narrative that business wants to engage on. It has simply understood that it can play an important social role and is doing its bit in support. Over the last three years, companies have listened and responded to how they have been challenged to play a positive role.
It does also lead to the prospect of far better interaction and work between the public and private sector in a far better way than maybe happened in the past. As budgets are cut, it is natural that the public sector will need more support from the private sector but at the same time be wary of how this does manifest itself. However things have changed and just maybe it does open the door to new alliance and opportunity.
It is a period of real change when we are all being asked to reimagine what could be achieved and this is creating a new energy and momentum. It is likely to open doors for many partnership discussions which will be a step forward. Companies are open to bringing their expertise, skill and support to working with communities, society and the public sector with a new open mindset. It is creating the basis for a more vibrant discussion and new opportunities.
It was JFK who remarked that every crisis also offered opportunity for those who could visualise it. It is very likely that the next year will offer this challenge all across the UK.
As hard as the next year will be, and this was inevitable, there are strong signs for the future emerging.