Locality has published the results of a year-long study that looked at how to strengthen localism and community power in four local authority areas.
The study looked at local authorities in Cornwall, Stevenage, Southwark and Wigan to examine how councils are devolving power, strengthening local capacity, and working with communities and parish and town councils as equal partners in decision-making.
It also outlines the barriers in place at a local level that need to be addressed and showcases how resident-led partnerships and community organisations are working with local authorities to create change in their areas.
The study suggests that internal culture change within councils is key to ensuring that an ‘ambitious vision’ for localism and community power is backed up in practice.
Alongside strategic and political leadership, the report highlights the need for embedding change through staff engagement to shift cultures in practice and disrupt siloed working. Increasing community participation and power should be a core component of how all council services and decision-making processes are designed and evaluated.
The report also highlights the powerful results that arise from council and community partnerships, where residents and local areas are supported and provided with the resources and powers to lead local change. This includes, for example, unlocking local economic development by supporting community businesses, or enabling local assets and services to thrive through community ownership.
Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Locality said: ‘We are living in a period of unprecedented political upheaval. Brexit remains unresolved and a snap general election is likely. While division seemingly characterises our national politics, at a local level there are huge opportunities for a new power settlement.
Read the report here.
Earlier this week, Centre for London published a report which called for a ‘reboot’ of localism so communities can influence more decisions in their local neighbourhoods.
The report proposes a series of reforms including introducing Community Improvement Districts (CIDs) and giving communities the right to buy local assets, which it says would enable residents to shape the future of their neighbourhoods, strengthen communities and enhance local public services.
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