Carnegie Inquiry into future of civil society in UK and Ireland seeks your views

The Carnegie UK Trust has launched an inquiry into the development of civil society in the UK and Ireland. The aim is to identify ways in which policy and practice can be enhanced in order to help strengthen civil society and to enhance the ability of civil society associations to prepare for whatever the future might hold. ‘Civil society in Britain and Ireland is extraordinarily dynamic,’ says Geoff Mulgan, Inquiry Commission Chair. ‘But the picture is uneven and there are new threats as well as new opportunities.’

The Inquiry will explore civil society as associational life (the future of civil society associations such as voluntary and community organizations, trade unions, faith-based organizations, philanthropic organizations, political parties, etc); civil society as the  ‘good’ society; and civil society as the arena for public deliberation. Issues that the Inquiry is likely to address include: the impact of advances in communication technologies on associational life; implications of the changing relationship between civil society associations and the state; and the impact of the media on shaping the nature of public deliberation.

To inform the Inquiry’s work, the Carnegie UK Trust is actively seeking the views of people in the UK and Ireland and from other countries on the future of civil society. The Get Involved section of the website offers the options to complete a short form or to write a think-piece. Suggested topics include the relationships between different ‘types’ of civil society associations at local, national, European and/or global level; the relationship between civil society associations and the state, media and corporate sector; and the threats to civil society as the ‘good’ society and how these might be tackled.

The Inquiry has an International Advisory Group whose members include Mike Edwards (Ford Foundation) and Thomas Carothers (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace).

For more information
For more on the work of the Inquiry, and to get involved, go to or contact Lenka Setkova at

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