The third session of the LGiU’s Civil Society Innovation Network
took place on 23 February, at the Department for Communities and Local Government, to discuss the challenges and implications of the Localism Act. The Network heard from:
- DCLG discussed the Community Rights
- Eden District Council talked about their work as part of the Big Society Vanguard
- Essex County Council and Tendring District Council regarding their ‘Whole Essex Community Budget’
- Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames on local integrated services and neighbourhood community budgets
- Locality spoke about making assets work for communities
All of these presentations from this session are available below.
DCLG: The Community Rights
The group were given an overview of the Community Rights – to Bid, Challenge, Build and Neighbourhood Plans – and the support package available. The discussion focussed on topics that all local authorities will want to consider when thinking about the implementation of the rights, including:
- The challenges and opportunities in managing the rights
- Understanding the rights and how authorities will manage the processes locally
- How will authorities communicate the challenges and opportunities locally
- What central government can do to help with the rights
The group had a very challenging discussion with DCLG about various practicalities of the rights; in particular: the setting up of an asset register and who will lead on it, how bids for challenges to services would be accepted and boundaries for neighbourhoods and how to manage this.
Two of the main points, and questions that we would be keen to get wider feedback on were:
- If communities do not take up these rights – is this the best case scenario for local authorities and communities? Should the rights be a last resort and should local authorities be providing opportunities for communities to do the things that the rights allow, but without triggering this formal process?
- If a procurement process for a service is triggered, how can local authorities build consideration of ‘social value’ into the process, so smaller and local groups can compete with larger providers?
- The Government are thinking of extending the rights to other public bodies – if they did this, would local authorities consider challenging central government to deliver services? If so, which ones?
Please post your comments below – we will feed these back into the Network and to DCLG.
Eden District Council
The ‘Whole Essex Community Budget’
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames: local integrated services and neighbourhood community budgets
Locality: making assets work for communities