This report asks how, in practical terms, citizens can act together to improve the way public services work for them. This can involve individuals volunteering their time to help others, but it is also about empowering people to help themselves.

Everyone is talking about the 'Big Society' as part of the next stage of public service reform, but much of the discussion to date has been abstract rather than practical. Getting citizens more involved in the design and delivery of public services has real promise as a way of empowering citizens, improving outcomes and providing better value for money. But we need to understand much better how this agenda can be translated into practice. There is appetite from local people to get more involved in delivering public services, but there are some strong barriers to participation.