England & Wales Press Releases

LGiU: we must rebuild trust in our democracy

Think tank LGiU is calling on Westminster parties to take action and rebuild trust in our local democracies.

Low turnouts and the rise of the anti-establishment vote reveal an increasing lack of faith in the ability of the main parties to reflect and represent the interests of local communities.

To combat this sense of exclusion and distrust, LGiU is calling for meaningful devolution to empower local citizens. The think tank states that we need firm commitments in the general election manifestos to define how each Westminster party intends to create a new political consensus based on the devolution and sharing of power with the country’s localities.

Sketching out a future vision for local democracy, LGiU has published a new report, which argues that we must be bolder in our aspirations for local government and local communities.

For local democracy to thrive, the council of the future must be:

  • The powerful council: we need to stop thinking about decentralisation as a political project in which power must be demanded from the centre. Power is not a zero-sum game, rather it can be much more dynamic and inclusive. We need to recognise and develop the power that already exists in communities across the country.
  • The learning council: councils need to become centres of adaptive leadership that are continually learning both from their own practice and also from that of other sectors. This sets the scene for new and deeper forms of partnership.
  • The social council: councils need to focus more on building relationships. Both the relationships within communities that create wellbeing and allow mutual support and the relationships between people in the council that enable employees to feel secure innovating.
  • The global council: we need to broaden our perspective and to think about localism in a global context. Issues like migration, climate change and economic growth are better managed between cities and localities than mediated by national governments.

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of LGiU, said:

“The results of the local and European elections reveal a clear message about the state of our country’s democracy. We urgently need to address voter apathy and this sense of disenfranchisement. To do this, we must embolden local citizens and reinvigorate local communities. Councils can play a key role as relationship builders, community curators, power generators and as sites of adaptive, reflective leadership. We are calling on Westminster parties to reflect this in their 2015 manifestos.”

 

Ends

 

Notes for Editors

For press enquiries, please contact Lizzie Greenhalgh, LGiU, at [email protected] or by calling 0207 554 2800.

The full report is available here: https://lgiu.org/municipal-futures/

 

About LGiU

LGiU (Local Government Information Unit) is a think tank and membership association, with c200 local authorities and other organisations subscribing to its services. LGiU’s mission is to strengthen local democracy to put citizens in control of their own lives, communities and services. LGiU is a registered charity run by its members for its members.

LGiU works with NDPBs, NGOs, and private and voluntary sector partners, as well as councils: providing briefings on emerging national and regional policy, publishing its own policy reports and recommendations, and seeking to influence decision-makers and policy teams locally, regionally and centrally.