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Localism Bill presentation
 

Localism Bill presentation

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  • Two House of Commons Research papers published Localism Bill: Planning and Housing (Research Paper 11/03) Localism Bill: Local government and community empowerment (Research Paper 11/02)
  • More freedom for councils - free to develop new revenue streams and income, and allowed to work more innovatively in partnership with the private sector, local community groups and other public bodies to drive out savings and re-design services. The research analyses possible new ventures and activities for local authorities to consider, including offering banking, insurance and credit services to local businesses and residents; grouping together in innovative partnerships to drive efficiencies and generate income or to devolve powers and responsibilities to the neighbourhood level; trading and selling a wider range of products and expertise (such as recruitment services, energy, communication and business services) to the private sector as well as other public agencies; varying charging rates for planning and licensing fees to reflect local circumstances and costs; adjusting tax rates and reliefs to incentivise behaviour on recycling, business development or property usage. I
  • Will this new framework deliver more or less houses? How will the need to deliver more affordable properties be met?
  • Report stage : What happens at report stage? All MPs may speak and vote - for lengthy or complex Bills the debates may be spread over several days. All MPs can suggest amendments to the Bill or new clauses (parts) they think should be added. Next agenda item usually is… What happens at third reading? Debate on the Bill is usually short, and limited to what is actually in the Bill, rather than, as at second reading, what might have been included. Amendments (proposals for change) cannot be made to a Bill at third reading in the Commons. At the end of the debate, the House decides (votes on) whether to approve the third reading of the Bill.

Localism Bill presentation Localism Bill presentation Presentation Transcript

  • The Localism Bill (March 2011) Warren Escadale Policy & Research Manager [email_address]
  • Outline
    • Health Warning
    • Summary of the Localism Bill
    • Legislative journey: what’s happened so far
    • Structure and content of the Localism Bill (including Community Right to Challenge exercise)
    • Legislative journey: next steps
    • Influencing the Localism Bill
    • Knowing what’s going on
  • !! Health Warning !!
    • There are no experts in the Localism Bill
    • There are no experts in this brand of localism
    • It’s a radical bill
    • The final ‘Localism Act 2012’ may not work in the way intended
    • There may be “UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES”
    • For all the structures of process, legal and policy expertise, lobbying, Think Tanks, national VCS groups, etc ….
    • You may be better placed to understand why
    • … and what’s more, MPs and other policy-makers will be conscious of this
    • It’s on the tin – maybe?
  • Summary of the Localism Bill
  • Progress of the Bill http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/localism.html
    • So far…
    • First reading on 13 December 2010: “published” by Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government: Eric Pickles MP
    • Second reading on 17 January 2011 What might be included – one 7 hour debate. Labour blocking: 140+ references to Secretary of State.
    • 19 January 2011: Committee stage call for evidence
    • Public Bill Committee stage: 25 January to 10 March
      • Witnesses (all online)
      • Line by line scrutiny (all online)
      • 21 st sitting today
      • Over 150 memoranda submitted to the public bill committee (all online)
      • 28 MPs on Public Bill Committee
  • Public Bill Committee There are 2 Chairs and 26 Committee members
    • Chairs: Mr David Amess and Hugh Bayley 
    • Alexander, Heidi (Lewisham East) (Lab) 
    • Barwell, Gavin (Croydon Central) (Con) 
    • Bruce, Fiona (Congleton) (Con) 
    • Cairns, Alun (Vale of Glamorgan) (Con) 
    • Clark, Greg (Minister of State, DCLG)  
    • Dakin, Nic (Scunthorpe) (Lab) 
    • Dromey, Jack (Birmingham, Erdington) (Lab) 
    • Elliott, Julie (Sunderland Central) (Lab) 
    • Gilbert, Stephen (St Austell and Newquay) (LD) 
    • Howell, John (Henley) (Con) 
    • Keeley, Barbara (Worsley and Eccles South) (Lab) 
    • Lewis, Brandon (Great Yarmouth) (Con) 
    • McDonagh, Siobhain (Mitcham and Morden) (Lab) 
    • Mearns, Ian (Gateshead) (Lab) 
    • Morris, James (Halesowen and Rowley Regis) (Con) 
    • Neill, Robert (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)  
    • Ollerenshaw, Eric (Lancaster and Fleetwood) (Con) 
    • Raynsford, Mr Nick (Greenwich and Woolwich) (Lab) 
    • Reynolds, Jonathan (Stalybridge and Hyde) (Lab/Co-op) 
    • Seabeck, Alison (Plymouth, Moor View) (Lab) 
    • Simpson, David (Upper Bann) (DUP) 
    • Smith, Henry (Crawley) (Con) 
    • Stewart, Iain (Milton Keynes South) (Con) 
    • Stunell, Andrew (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)  
    • Ward, Mr David (Bradford East) (LD) 
    • Wiggin, Bill (North Herefordshire) (Con) 
  • Department for Communities and local Government (DCLG)
    • Ministers and civil servants
    • Secretary of State: Eric Pickles MP (Conservative)
      • Minister of State for Decentralisation and Planning Policy: Greg Clark MP (Conservative)
      • Minister of State for Housing and Local Government: Grant Shapps MP (Conservative)
        • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Community Cohesion: Andrew Stunell OBE MP (Liberal Democrat)
        • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for London, Local Government and Planning: Bob Neill MP (Conservative)
        • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Lords) for Communities : Baroness Hanham CBE (Conservative)
    • The Permanent Secretary is Sir Bob Kerslake
  • Structure of the Localism Bill
    • It’s a big Bill
      • 406 pages
      • Two volumes
        • Vol 1: the clauses
          • Volume 1 has 8 “Parts”
          • Each Part has Chapters
        • Vol 2: the schedules
      • A broad range of things in the Bill…
  • Content of the Bill
    • Part 1: Local Government
    • Part 2: EU fines
    • Part 3: Non Domestic rates, etc
    • Part 4: Community Empowerment
    • Part 5: Planning
    • Part 6: Housing
    • Part 7: London
    • Part 8: General
  • Part 1: Local Government
    • give Local Authorities a General Power of Competence
    • free up Fire & Rescue Authorities so can do more and charge money eg false alarms
    • councils can, if they choose, switch back to the committee system and make mayoral arrangements
    • councillors can freely discuss issues and then speak or vote on those issues so long as they declare their interest; ie if stood on a platform to plant trees, then can debate and vote for trees to be planted.
    • abolishes the Standards Boards regime for councillors
    • Local authorities to publish details about chief executive pay
    • Repeal local authority duties relating to promoting democracy which requires them to give people information about democratic decision-making by public authorities
    • Repealed: schemes to reduce waste reduction through payments and charges
  • General Power of Competence
    • Part 1, (chapter 1), Clause 1, line 6: “s.1.1: A local authority has power to do anything that individuals generally may do”
    • What does this mean?
    • NLGN possibilities: Offer financial services; Group together; Devolve responsibilities to neighbourhood level; Extend trading and selling; Varying rates for planning and licensing fees; Adjusting tax rates and reliefs to incentivise behaviour
    • Secretary of State’s power to restrict
    • Runnymede Trust concerns: potential "opt-outs" of the duties under the Equalities Act 2010, including the Public Sector Equality Duty; minimum standard of public service for all not ensured
  • Part 2: EU fines
    • Power to require local or public authorities to make payments in respect of certain EU financial sanctions
    • Common concern: Any liabilities incurred through RDAs working with Central Government could be passed on to councils without necessarily a meaningful negotiation about what’s fair or affordable
  • Part 3: Non Domestic rates, etc
    • Ballot for imposition and certain variations of a business rate supplement
    • Non-domestic rates: discretionary relief
    • Small business relief
  • Part 4: Community Empowerment
    • Giving residents the power to instigate local referendums on any local issue
    • Giving residents the power to veto excessive council tax increases
    • Right to Buy Assets of Community Value: providing new powers to help save local facilities and services threatened with closure
    • Right to Challenge : giving voluntary and community groups the right to challenge local authorities over their services.
  • Exercise: Community Right to Challenge
    • Extract from Bill: Ch. 3, sections 66-70
    • Dialogue from Jay Kennedy, Directory of Social Change
    • National VCS submission to Public Bill Committee: Real Power for Communities (points 4.1-4.10)
    • Consultation on Community Right to Challenge
    • Process diagram (next slide)
  • Exercise (cont): Community Right to Challenge
    • When a relevant authority will consider E xpressions of Interest (EoI)
    • Period during which a relevant authority must reach a decision on an EoI
    • Period between an EoI being accepted by a relevant authority and a procurement exercise relating to the provision of the service beginning
  • Part 5: Planning
    • abolish Regional Spatial Strategies
    • abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission and return to a position where the Secretary of State takes the final decision on major infrastructure proposals of national importance
    • amend the Community Infrastructure Levy, which allows councils to charge developers to pay for infrastructure. Some of the revenue will be available for the local community. This may fund Participatory Budgeting activity.
    • provide for neighbourhood plans, which would be approved if they received 50% of the votes cast in a referendum
    • provide for neighbourhood development orders to allow communities to approve development without requiring normal planning consent
  • Part 6: Housing
    • The housing provisions will
    • allow local authorities to discharge their duties to homeless people by using private rented accommodation: homelessness duty will lose much of its meaning
    • reform the Housing Revenue Account system: currently 50 local authorities run at a deficit (maintenance higher than rent) but subsidised by other areas
    • provide for a new form of flexible tenure for social housing tenants: lifelong council tenancies will be scrapped and replaced with fixed term ones
    • give local authorities the power to limit who can apply for social housing within their areas
    • abolish the Tenant Services Authority and provides for a transfer of functions to the Homes and Communities Agency
    • amend the way in which a social tenant can make a complaint about their landlord
    • improve the ability of social tenants to move to different areas: a new national HomeSwap scheme
    • abolish the requirement to have a Home Improvement Pack
  • Part 7: London
    • Give new housing and regeneration powers to the Greater London Authority, while abolishing the London Development Agency.
    • Mayoral Development Corporations:
      • Planning and infrastructure functions
      • Land functions
      • Other: adoption of private streets
  • Next steps for the Localism Bill
  • Next stages for the Localism Bill
    • Report Stage: All MPs may speak, vote and suggest amendments
    • Third Reading: short debate, no amendments – vote to approve.
    • House of Lords (as HofC)
      • First reading: no debate
      • Second reading: list of speakers the day before
      • Committee stage: line by line, anyone from HofL can take part, no time limit
      • Report stage: votes on amendments
      • Third reading: voting, final tidying up
    • Consideration of Amendments
    • Focus on an issue of concern to you
    • Identify allies and engage in discussions eg:
      • Search online
      • See who has submitted memoranda:
        • do they agree with you?
        • would a case study enhance their understanding and message?
        • http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/localism/committees/houseofcommonspublicbillcommitteeonthelocalismbill201011.html
    • Talk to your MP
    • Consultations: http://www.vsnw.org.uk/news/view/2011-02-16-community-right-to-challenge-and-right-to-buy-consultations
      • Community Right to Challenge (3 May)
      • Community Right to Buy (3 May)
    • Consultation event tomorrow (9 th March) at the St Thomas Centre in Manchester with DCLG
    • Talk to your Lord?
      • http://lordsoftheblog.net/ with postings listed on twitter here: @lordsoftheblog
      • Second Reading in the Lords: who speaks? do you agree?
      • Ring the House of Lords helpline: 020 7219 3107
    Influencing the Localism Bill
  • Knowing what’s going on
    • Follow the Localism Bill online
    • Subscribe to email updates
    • Get linked in: find out who’s active:
      • Real Communities for Real People
      • Localism Agenda (planning focus)
      • Search for #localism on twitter
      • See Memoranda
    • Subscribe to VSNW’s Bulletin