Listening to Communities conference


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  • Listening to Communities conference

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