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Listening to Communities conference
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Listening to Communities conference



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  • There is no need for capital letters in the sub-heading.


  • 1. Localism in action: the future of local councils Justin Griggs, Head of Policy & Development, NALC
  • 2. The National Association Who are we, what do we do?
    • National representative and support body for local (parish & town) councils in England (and community and town councils in Wales)
    • Provide services, support and information in areas such as legal, policy and training
    • Work with government and other stakeholders to support and develop the role of local councils in communities and local government
    • Partnerships with local County Associations of Local Councils, Local Government Association, County Councils Network, One Voice Wales, Scottish Association of Community Councils, UK Alliance for International Development
  • 3. Session options….
    • Introductions (everyone): name & organisation, what is localism (5 words)
    • Unconference style?
    • Or short talk from me then paired & group discussion
  • 4. Session outline
    • Government objectives – our opportunities?
    • We all have a part to play
    • How can we demonstrate capabilities?
    • How can we get our message across?
    • Initiatives and developments
  • 5. The very local government and community action model
    • 9000 local councils in England, £500m+ expenditure
    • 80,000 councillors, elected and co-opted, 25,000 staff
    • 15 million people covered by local councils, 33% of population
    • Diverse sector, smallest covering <200, largest >80,000, urban and rural
    • Legal structure, but with extensive powers (and duties)
    • Over 200 new parish councils created since 1997, mostly in town and urban areas
    • Not always the answer, but informal partnerships may come and go
  • 6. Successive Government view of parish councils
    • An established and valued form of local democracy and management
    • Increasing role in urban areas
    • Government policy:
    • - build on the existing local council structure
    • - improve its capacity to deliver better services and represent the community’s interests
    • Has many powers already
    • Local authorities can delegate additional functions and budgets to a local council
  • 7. Big Society and localism – government objectives
    • Give communities and individuals more power
    • 2. Encourage people to take an active role in their communities
    • 3. Transfer power from central to local government
    • 4. Support co-ops, mutuals, charities and social enterprises
  • 8. Opportunities
    • Local councils support this specification!
    • Build on strengths and uniqueness
    • Tough economic climate
    • Chance to deliver more for communities
    • Keep on doing what were doing; do more of it; keep talking about it; do some new stuff!
    • Turn your role on its head – starting point should be ‘what does the community want from us?’
  • 9. What part can we all play? National action County support Local engagement Council activity
  • 10. How can we demonstrate our capabilities?
    • Full use of powers/precept (and new powers)
    • Embrace new initiatives and technologies
    • Utilising quality tools
    • Training and learning
    • Share good practice
    • Effective policies and procedures
    • Effective communication
    • Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate
    • Build on our strengths, work on our weaknesses
  • 11.  
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  • 15. Initiatives and Developments
    • Localism Bill
    • (Council tax freeze &) referendums on increases
    • Referendums on local issues & reform of parish polls
    • Community right to build/challenge
    • Community assets and right to buy
    • Power of general competence
    • Statutory n’hood plans – local councils & n’hood groups
    • Predetermination and standards
    • Abolition of quango’s – Audit Commission, Standards for England & Commission for Rural Communities
    • Financial reforms – New Homes bonus/Business Rate/CiL & cheques
    • Repeal duty to promote democracy
    • All Party Parliamentary Group
    • Quality parishes scheme/new National Training Strategy
  • 16. The new landscape?
    • Local councils working with community groups and other partners like principal authorities to:
    • understand viability of local assets and service provision
    • enhance and sustain facilities and services (step change from traditional to new services)
    • organise the precept to maximise community finance
    • represent the collective needs and opportunities in dealing with statutory bodies
    • Acting as guardians of sustainable community-led plan and develop statutory neighbourhood plan
    • Developing and protecting reputation
    • Use precept to meet community need and support community leadership role
    • Greater confidence to use powers, particularly new well being/general competence power
    • The local council as enabler, convenor, facilitator, nudger?
  • 17.  
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  • 19. Further information and stuff: [email_address] Follow me on Twitter…@JustinGriggs