Civitas (think tank)
Civitas: The Institute for the Study of Civil Society is an independent think tank, not affiliated to a political party, aimed at developing public understanding of the framework of a free and democratic society. Key issues include crime, schooling, health, immigration and the family unit.
Civitas was founded by David George Green and Robert Whelan early in 2000 as an independent think tank. It is a British registered charity (No. 1085494), financed by private donations. It receives no government funding and has no affiliations with any political party. It received a large donation for a three-year programme of research from The Reece Foundation in 2011. The Civitas website states that "We publish the names of donors who, on request, are willing to be identified". However, its website provides no up to date information on its funders.
The stated underlying purpose of Civitas is to deepen public understanding of the legal, institutional and moral framework that makes a free and democratic society possible.
They state that what they do is:
- Support informed public debate and encourage consensus by:
- Providing accurate factual information on today's social issues.
- Publishing informed comment and analysis.
- Bringing together leading protagonists in open discussion.
- Work towards pragmatic solutions to current social problems.
- Implement pioneering projects to demonstrate what can be accomplished.
- Supply schools with teaching materials and guest speakers.
The think tank describes itself as "classical liberal" and "non-partisan". However The Times and The Daily Telegraph have described it as a "right-of-centre think-tank". Its director David G. Green writes occasionally in The Daily Telegraph and its deputy director Anastasia de Waal frequently contributes to The Guardian's "Comment is free" section. Its areas of policy interest include:
- Crime: Civitas authors have argued for more consistent crime policies that straddle the left-right divide, for earlier and pre-emptive interventions with prolific offenders and for crime statistics to be more digestibly and honestly presented. They have also advocated rehabilitating prisoners through drug programmes and vocational education.
- Education: Civitas research seeks out an objective view of standards of education in Britain in order to offer an improved perspective on how best to deliver equitable and high standards of education for all. The particular aim is to generate evidence-based policy, with realisable strategies for implementation. It has called for a new inspectorate to replace Ofsted for free schools and academies, and The Times has described Civitas as an ally of former Education Secretary Michael Gove.
- Family: Its authors have examined the impact of social policy and changing social norms in families, looking in particular at family structure and the socioeconomic significance of marriage in the UK.
- Health: Civitas authors have called for an end to the NHS's monopoly on public healthcare (in effect for greater privatisation of health service delivery) and greater diversity in the system with the aim of creating a more equitable system for all.
- Immigration: Its authors have sought to analyse the pros and cons of mass immigration, including the costs for the public sector and downward pressure on low-paid jobs. They claim that 'multiculturalism now means the co-existence in one land of rival and antagonistic ways of life'.
- Economic growth: The Wealth of Nations project was established to encourage a more balanced economy and especially to explore how best to stimulate manufacturing in order to foster a more resilient economy and to generate jobs across the ability range.
- Welfare: Civitas believes people should 'keep their own earnings' and 'pay their own way'.
- Director: David G. Green
- Deputy Director (Research): Anastasia de Waal
- Editorial Director: Robert Whelan
- The Public and the Police (2008) Harriet Sergeant
- Crime and Civil Society: Can we become a more law-abiding people? (2005) Dr David G. Green, Emma Grove and Nadia A. Martin
- Crimes of the Community: Honour-based Violence in the UK (2007) James Brandon and Salam Hafez
- What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know (2011) E. D. Hirsch, Jr. (ed.)
- Liberal Education and the National Curriculum (2010) Prof. David Conway
- Inspecting the Inspectorate: Ofsted Under Scrutiny (2008) Anastasia de Waal
- Corruption of the Curriculum (2007) Robert Whelan
- The Butterfly Book: A Reading and Writing Course (2007) Irina Tyk
- The Butterfly Grammar: A Course for Better English (2008) Irina Tyk and Ed Dovey
- Second Thoughts on the Family (2008) Anastasia de Waal
- Putting Patients Last (2009) Peter Davies, James Gubb and Donald R. Keogh
- Quite Like Heaven? Options for the NHS in a Consumer Age (2007) Nick Seddon and Bernard Ribeiro
- A Nation of Immigrants? A brief demographic history of Britain (2007) Prof. David Conway
- Disunited Kingdom (2009) Prof. David Conway
- Nations Choose Prosperity: Why Britain needs an Industrial Policy (2009) Ruth Lea and David G. Green
Involvement in schools
Civitas provides teaching materials and guest speakers for schools, in particular on family structure and on the EU.
The EU project publishes a series of free factsheets on the European Union, designed for use by A-level students. Civitas also arranges speakers for talks and debates in schools on the subject of the EU.
Civitas runs supplementary schools on Saturday mornings and after school hours. The schools teach English and maths to children from disadvantaged backgrounds, emphasising traditional approaches such as phonics. There are now twenty supplementary schools in King's Cross, Hammersmith, Camberwell, Keighley, Birmingham, Great Yarmouth and Bradford providing classes for over 600 children per week.
Civitas is adapting the American Core Knowledge curriculum for the UK. It is a year-by-year outline of the specific and shared content and skills to be taught in Years 1 to 6. The first Core Knowledge book, What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know, aroused controversy over its message to minorities when released in 2011. The books for Year 1 and Year 2 were published in 2012.
- Charity Commission. Civitas, registered charity no. 1085494.
- "Civitas - funding information". whofundsyou.org.
- "About Us", Civitas website, https://web.archive.org/web/20170301114033/http://www.civitas.org.uk/about-us/ (accessed 01 March 2017, most recent donor information provided is for 2013)
- "Gove allies say 'Sixties-mired' Ofsted should be scrapped". The Times. London. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
- Philip Johnston (7 April 2014). "A close encounter with the property boom". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
- "Anastasia de Waal". the Guardian.
- David Green biography at civitas.org.uk
- English version of US fact bible for Year 1s hits the shops at the Times Educational Supplement
- "Core Knowledge UK: Educational Resources and Activities for Teachers, Home Educators, Parents and Grandparents to Help Children Excel in Primary School and Beyond". www.coreknowledge.org.uk.