The South West Leading on Localism

Following on from a conference on 17 October 2013, I am pleased to be a signatory to this Open Letter to Government about Localism in South West England

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Mr Stephen Williams M.P., Minister for Communities
Department for Communities and Local Government
Eland House
Bressenden Place
London SW1E 5DU

04 February 2014

Dear Minister

The South West Leading on Localism

We are writing to let you know the outcome of an innovative event at which over 50 people, mainly
community activists, elected members and local authority practitioners, heard from leaders on localism in the South West of England. They shared their achievements and experiences of working with a localist approach and their views on how to spread good practice. The Annex, containing all the written material generated at the meeting should give you a feel for the wide range of fantastic activity and forward looking ideas of people at grass roots level in our part of the country. Building on the wealth of experience in the room, attendees also considered the messages they wish to send to Government.

We know, from your personal experience as a Councillor and M.P., that you share our determination to transfer power to communities, and we appreciate the steps that Government is taking to make this happen. We look forward to your response to our suggestions on what needs to be done to help
localism take root, and will be delighted to discuss them further with you.

Three themes emerged:

1. Communities must be trusted: Please trust that people will be creative if they are free to act; a few failures are a price worth paying. Politicians and bureaucrats alike must let go;

2. Communities must be resourced. It’s not just about money (though re-allocating cash from big bureaucracy to the front line would pay back richly). People also need help to share ideas and to act on learning;

3. Good practice must be transferred from vanguard areas to other communities. People, particularly in disadvantaged communities, need active support if this is to happen.

Here are just a few of the South West’s ideas for your action:

Building trust by letting go

Please ask all levels of government and its agencies to:

• Remove more hurdles – why, for example, do people still lose benefits by volunteering? Outdated protocols are still presented as immovable obstacles by local government.

• Recognise that many centralised services do not deliver well in rural areas or at individual neighbourhood level; one size does not fit all.

• Procure and employ locally – reduce large scale county, regional and national contracts.

Resourcing

Please ask all levels of government and its agencies to:

• Change their current accounting methods so that local spend can be analysed by postcode (in rural areas and parishes) area. This is a key action to facilitate Community Budgeting/Our Place.

• Explore tax reliefs for private sector engagement in localism support.

• Enable Parish and Town Councils to retain a portion (say 20%) of their business rates to fund further local/community projects.

• Encourage the development of social enterprises owned by Parish and Town Councils to enable them to do more.

Supporting

Please ask your Department to:

• Encourage a wider range of potential partners in localism (utility companies, developers, retailers and other businesses).

• Recognise that participation in localism is currently possible only for those with skills and funding access—often the middle classes. Investment in community development and training is vital, particularly in disadvantaged areas, if all communities are to succeed.

• Find and enable communities to share evidence of good practice so it can be replicated.

In our discussions, one theme stood out: a transfer of power to local communities must be matched by a growth in their capacity to exercise it; broad legislation alone is not enough to do the job.

Initiatives exist that recognise this (Community Organisers and Community First, for example). But much more must be done to spread good practice and enable less highly skilled communities to use it. We can suggest how this might be done.

There are many more suggestions the Annex, and presentations from the day on the Creating Excellence website. Action across government is required if the change we need to see is to happen. In the words of one our speakers, ‘if it ain’t broke, break it’. It is not community activists alone who are saying this, but also local authority staff and elected members. The evidence from our event is that the front line in the South West is ready for change that will genuinely empower and enable communities to fully embrace localism. Is Government?

We look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Hewitt, Chair, Creating Excellence
John Osman, Leader, Somerset County Council
Cllr Mel Usher, Leader, Frome Town Council
Mark Richardson, Chair, South West Forum
Cllr Paul Bull, Exeter City Champion for Community Engagement
Cllr Keith Ross OBE, West Somerset District Council
Leslie Silverlock, Groupswork (Event Chair) John Skrine, Director, Creating Excellence
Dawn Rivers, Community Involvement Officer, Exeter City Council
Anne Harrison-Bailey, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service
Zoe Harris, Neighbourhood Development Officer
Hester Hunt, Community Development Professional
Jamie Buckley, Community Engagement Officer
Pete Davies, Community Empowerment Manager, Knightstone Housing Association
Jane Fletcher-Peters, Environment Agency
Peter Jones, Locality
Maria Clarke, Community Planning Officer for West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council
Rupert Barker, Consultation and Planning Officer,Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service
Tracey Cabache, Torbay Community Development Trust
Helen Nicholson, Community Development professional
Denise Ross, Sustainable Crediton
Gary Powell, Teignbridge District Council
Liz Barnes, Community Empowerment Team Manager (Somerset), Knightstone Housing
David Farnsworth, Consultant in City Development and Neighbourhood Planning
Gerald Milward-Oliver, Director, Townswork
James Derounian, Academic and Community Activist
Angie McTiernan, Development Worker, East Devon Volunteer Support Agency
Dominic Murphy, Executive Director, Creating Excellence
Sarah Taragon, Involve – Voluntary Action Mid Devon
Marion Silverlock, Education Consultant
Helen Bone, Vivid Regeneration LLP
Deborah Fisher, Freelance Consultant
John Harris, Wiveliscombe & 10 Parishes Business Group
Diana Moore, Community Enterprise Advisor, Moorehelp and member of Alphington Village Forum, Exeter
Matt Day, Regeneration Consultant
Lorna Turner, The Fruit Tree for Business LLP

c.c. The Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles M.P., Secretary of State

Annexe to letter

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Transcript of Flip Charts and written material generated at meeting

Making Neighbourhood Planning Work

Urban forums need status – and access e.g. CIL

Concern about communities which don’t have capacity to lead a neighbourhood plan – result

in disadvantaged communities. How to support these communities it needs to come from the community

Learn from front runners – refine the process

Ensure this links to wider ‘community planning’ in terms of social aspects (i.e. NP land based planning – CP – Service type planning – give more value to parish planning – link NP / local plan / infrastructure delivery /community plan priorities

Need to reduce complexity of the process

Raise status of neighbourhood plans so less able to be challenged by developers

Development – presumption should be in favor of communists, not developers

To complex, too long (if we knew what we know now, we wouldn’t have done it) – Frome

Need to be aware of size of area & make monies available appropriately (bigger areas need more funding)

Need more guidance on when to do N.P. or community plan.

Local authorities often giving advice to communities to not do N.P. to complex etc. Local authorities not having capacity to give support. Communities may do N.P’s if it was cheaper and less complex (Pre-emptive strike from developers needs to be blocked –before local plan and N.P. agreed.

Majority of people live in urban areas. Lack of funding for urban areas doing Neighbourhood Planning. Emphasis from government is on rural areas doing neighbourhood planning.

Realise that urban and rural areas are different.

Campaign of awareness about neighbourhood Planning. Currently only aware people get involved.

A lot of areas don’t have the skills to do a Neighbourhood Plan. More funding to buy in skills for these areas.

Make sure Neighbourhoods misunderstandings about what a neighbourhood Plan can do are corrected. Neighbourhood Planning has been mis-sold by the government, people have misconceptions about what it is which unjustly raises their expectations.

Need to be able to challenge core strategy and still adopted.

Opportunity within schools etc. to develop social capital – not optional as is now-Core curriculum.

Ensure demographics properly represented and engaged in appropriate ways.

Resources and expertise provided to enable communities to succeed.

Where forums develop neighbourhood plans they should be given statutory recognition.

Funding – needs to be more equitable.

Fears of domination by single issue (Loud voices)

Equity for marginalised areas.

Each area needs a neighbourhood plan and is individual, what happens if don’t have skills to do a complex planning document? Can you help?

How do areas and neighbourhoods know what opportunities are available to them. Need better clearer information (in everyday language).

Could the Neighbourhood plan process be made simpler/more streamlined so that more community led plans of this kind happen? Learn from experience of those who have done these plans and what it can be spent on.

Implenting the plan is important. Make it clear how CIL money is accessed by the community and what it is spent on (especially in areas without Parish/Town Councils).

Aspiration still right but too complex. Has worked to help people recognize where development is ok to happen.

Planning inspectorate is not properly aligned with N.P. planning. Voting issue of involving everyone but only registered voters count as yes/no.

Planners see it as being about growth but this is often not local agenda.Therefore everyone is in a bind. Needs to be clear message

Lack of resourcing a big issue.

An exchange of good practice and sharing of others doing N P.

Capacity building within local communities to support the development of local people to write what is an important document for a complex process.

How will the government encourage/support the decision making in relation to the NP and the consultation of the community in decision making, therefore encouraging the delivery of the plan.

Introduction of another level of planning decision making to enable consultation of particular issues of importance to the community.

Simplifying the process and removing of planning speak to encourage participation and engagement.

Simplify the process unnecessary complicated.

Duty to cooperate =very useful.

CIL not an incentive unless there is development.

Good practice in Bristol – more support given by the local authority to deprived areas adjust levels of support accordingly.

Be clear – do you need a neighbourhood plan? What are the benefits over and above PEP for your community?

Complex – expert planning support essential/guidance – one size doesn’t fit all/presumption in favour of development undermines neighbourhood plans/national requirement for national

infrastructure overrides neighbourhood planning/referendum – shouldn’t have to jump higher hurdles than politicians need to get elected/presumption in favour of communities not developers.

Agencies must support volunteering especially job centre plus. Encourage local businesses to get behind social action with incentives. Duty to cooperate an opportunity for agencies to work differently, e.g. get involved in community budgets. ESOL agencies need to be on board, and universities and FE colleges not just local authority.

Link neighbourhood plans with community budgeting – planning is a blunt instrument for community development. Publish GIS -based budgets as the norm to change attitudes.

What Town and Parish Councils need to make localism work

More networking of exemplar innovative councils and toolkits and help to adopt locally.

Make T&PCs more attractive to a broader system of the population including youth to attract broader range of skills.

Update statute and legislation to allow local government to fit in with the modern age. More freedom to allow things to happen quicker.

Change culture of politicians and the civil service more for the community and more about letting go of power.

Engage a wider variety of people in government and Local town and parish councils. Less of a link to political parties.

Localism champions to be recruited – inspire communities (possibly county based) –push the barriers.

Sharing and inspiring good ideas (best practice) toolkit of examples innovation fund.

Encourage towns/parishes to raise their precept to fund innovative work in the community and calibrate among areas – Local area partnerships

Use what exists and then upskill and harness capacity.

Councils TC/PC – businesses – Voluntary sector needs.

Look at the good practice that has been lost (due to cuts) and try to recapture best bits (e.g. lost joint working and networking opps)

Multi-channel community involvement.

Enabling decisions to be taken at the lowest possible level – with associates Trust Transparency and flexibility across the whole of local go to enable local involvement.

Better skills and knowledge and low to implement the laws and roles of local authorities.

Break down bureaucracy further to become more relevant to local people.

Give more faith local people as local experts

More emphasis on creative problem solving.

Accept consultation from a more local level.

If you mean decentralisation – do. Trust us give us real power of a community power. You need a group of brave and committed people to make localism work at a local level government and gets in the way.

Should be up to local communities to decide what localism is not government. Decision at the most sensible county level.

Resources all going into N.P. – no real support for any other part of localism.

A lot of what happens takes place despite localism act.

Invest in local communities – capacity building in more disadvantaged areas – officers to have different roles e.g. housing officers should also have a role of city development/capacity building.

Asking government to trust local people/organisations – delegate power or authority.

Recognise difference between City Councils and County/District/Town/Paris – Cities don’t have the same structures or authority of councilors.

Give part of Council Tax to local development trust to fund local projects.

Strengthen localism legislation and close loopholes to better enable local self-help. Not yet fit for purposes (Lots of examples re right to bid)

Current local Council laws doesn’t stimulate local action. Can this be re-engineered? Make it more fit for purpose. Language and methods need to be brought up-to-date.

Need to empower people at the top of Local government which the town and parish councils part of.

o Therefore they have money to make the changes e.g. grants to other tiers as statutory entitlement.

o Local bodies entitled to local assets e.g. car parks reverse mistakes 1974.

Engagement

Value community development/develop skills and experience of local people/disadvantaged communities need more investment/pay local people for doing the work

Local authority role to enable/encourage/support? And targeted more in communities without

capacity

Community champions (needs to be sustained/community spirit/support from local town and parish councils/engagement officers

Barriers: risk and liability/people getting burnt out/responsibility (confidence)/insurance: public liability for volunteers

Share best practice: Cornwall community flood forum/building County resilience/community driven

Listening/critical mass – more volunteers, funding, time and energy, leaflets, meetings, working groups.

Councillors at a local level should not be party affiliated.

The localism and growth agenda don’t add up together.

Paying local people to do the work.

Town council Ltd –CIC.

Offset and take on local authority functions – shifting sands: consistent government messages.

Fixed term councils?

Succession planning.

Central government policy undermines community. Don’t like Pickles!! Me too! It’s barmy!

Barrier busting/red tape.

Opportunities for young people to engage. How engage: Snow wardens equal participation.

Shift in ownership.

10% of budget for local groups and 10% from private sector: leverage. Local multiplier – empowerment/engagement processes/breaking the mould/setting the town free.

Duty to cooperate/postcode accounting/tax relief on support for community groups.

SOCIAL CONTRACT: community development/community researchers/selfhelp/coordination down to postcode/junior mayor.

Social capital: economy/ not just about planning/social inclusion: changing attitudes: from begging bowl to responsibility – community allowance.

People are assets – funding for engagement.

Paying local people/community allowance campaign/jury service model?/Training for leadership and conflict resolution/networking community champions/citizenship in

Appropriate training for residents and capacity and confidence building/supportive structures and officers/managing expectations/burnout of all volunteers: needs support of officers/localism service within local authority.

How do we keep the capacity that the process creates?/ duty of engagement /

Transparency/flexibility – local authorities can do anything as long as it’s not illegal.

Fresh blood: new ideas/risk/trust/party politics irrelevant/(small-scale) problem solving/local.

Presumption in favour of robust neighbourhood plan (no invariable right to challenge for developers).

Listening/critical mass – more volunteers, funding, time and energy, leaflets, meetings, working groups.

Councillors at a local level should not be party affiliated.

The localism and growth agenda don’t add up together.

Paying local people to do the work.

Town council Ltd –CIC.

Offset and take on local authority functions – shifting sands: consistent government messages.

Fixed term councils?

Succession planning.

Central government policy undermines community. Don’t like Pickles!! Me too! It’s barmy!

Be clear – do you need a neighbourhood plan? What are the benefits over and above PEP for your community?

Barrier busting/red tape.

Opportunities for young people to engage. How engage: Snow wardens equal participation.

Shift in ownership.

10% of budget for local groups and 10% from private sector: leverage. Local multiplier – empowerment/engagement processes/breaking the mould/setting the town free.

Community development workers: anxiety, safeguarding, myths, risk and liability.

Community driven, confidence, TRUST. Key is volunteers: community spirit, champions, resilience, enabling, participatory budgeting.

Notice boards and electronic communication. Inspiration.

Remove barriers and complexity for local champions and volunteers.

Duty to cope operate should encourage local authorities to adopt participative budgeting methods.

Devolving infrastructure Levies. Proposals for distributing CIL money should be reassessed in alignment to more local.

Parish plans as evidence base. Spatial plans, street scene.

Community involvement in designing proposals: Drawing up tender documents/scoring tender submissions.

Find alternative sources: participatory budgeting as a tool/creative problem-solving: consultation to be accepted at a more local level/breakdown of bureaucracy further to become more relevant to local people. More faith be given to local people as experts.

If it’s broke, don’t fix it. If it ain’t broke, break it (not about service delivery, more about problem solving).

How do we learn from each other?

Democracy should mirror yearning for community identity at a very local level. Culture change – communities need to become more resilient.

People not disillusioned with politics. Politicians disillusioned with local people (takes courage to give away power).

Returns to local government as we knew it?

Concept of communities running their own affairs.

Staff with diverse skills not administrators: say yes when you can: employ and procure locally: develop youth apprenticeships. Community funding.

Empowering community champions.

Use a different media to link with communities.

One size fits all doesn’t take account of the diverse nature of individual communities.

Local authorities need to make sure that ‘community areas’ are constructed by local people are not ‘experts’.

Buy in from strategic decision makers.

Promote, value, invest in community development (especially in deprived areas).

Identify and recognise skills within the community and encourage volunteering. Get young people involved through schools etc.

Future proofing. Social contract/community development takes time/community commitment fatigue/interference of politics

Ilfracombe’s Community Budgeting pilot

Need a presumption in favour of the community viewpoint. Community support for something should override external opposition.

Public sector organisations to know how much they spend at the postcode level – increases their accountability.

Tax relief to be given to Private Sector organisations who fund local development in the community (broad sense).

Simplify the right to bid at small scale local level. Government to demand of local organisations with public funding including local authorities to change their mindset in favour of communities or local arrangements (i.e. grass cutting). Co-ordination of loca arrangements done centrally but some funding given out reduces cost. The localization of spending encourages the bottom up approach.

Could you require Public Sector bodies to account for their money by postcode (individual government departments) so their communities can engage more easily in community budgets.

Could you arrange for tax incentives to companies to encourage them to give financial support to local opportunities.

Could a community budgeting requirement be placed on public spending bodies to encourage place based work.

Government cut backs means that local services are being withdrawn or changed. Can local powers be extended to require powers to plan in access to services so that people are not disadvantaged.

Strategic bodies working to be accountable by postcode to overcome silo and a lack of coterminosity.

Incentive for businesses to give locally and making it easy, would help.

More government money should go direct to delivery level. At present too much goes through to many layers which complicates it and take slices. Another question of trust.

Question of whether there is real openness on what is really working.

Too many layers of government.

Population based spending/accounting by public bodies making it easier for communities to identify what is being spent in their area.

Sharing of data intelligence across public bodies and agencies to reduce duplication and provide a comprehensive picture of an area.

Government to offer incentives for communities and companies who wish to be involved in community projects.

Trust in communities to spend money wisely.

Incentivising the private sector to contribute more financing to their communities. Educate them on good marketing from contributions and other benefits contributing.

Public sector bodies should work to postcodes to make things more transparent.

Where community budgeting takes place allow the community budget organisation to share any savings made and spend that where they need to spend it locally.

Organise proper round tables between the Minister and the people on the ground, take out the civil servants. Stop it all becoming bureaucratic.

All public bodies and agencies must publish GIS/Postcode based budgets and report on them.

Look to link neighbourhood Planning with Community budgeting to provide holistic plans for development of an area.

Agencies must support volunteering – especially Job Centre Plus to give volunteers relevant experience & help support their communities.

Encourage local businesses to get behind solid action with incentives such as tax relief.

Barrier busting – support to break through the red tape.

Being able to access disaggregated information I.e. postcode.

Organisations enabling those with skillsets and capacity to support key people.

Organisation recognising the benefit of sharing information for the greater good and their own service development LEP’s??

Information sharing – more transparency in financial info from public sector – postcode data.

Local enterprise partnerships – need greater community engagement. Draw upon local intelligence. Local tax breaks or incentive for business finance/staff voluntary time to engage with community projects.

Encourage partnerships for mutual benefits – don’t hide behind data protection issues.

Reduction of bureaucracy to enable local people to undertake more activity locally (e.g. grass cutting)

Tax relief for Private Sector investing in communities.

Some kind of central encouragement/directive to encourage partners to co-ordinate and commit to local spend accountability around postcode.

Future proofing – this doesn’t happen overnight needs to be able to be sustainable – government needs to send out continued encouragement. Support to the process e.g. Social Contract.

All public service authorities should have to maintain financial information related to postcodes.

Very positive example of working at a local level and deciding on budgets – Should be promoted and rolled out across the country.

Central government departments need to play a role – There needs to be leadership from the centre.

Community engagement/consultation key to making this process work – ways of engaging the wider community & enabling everyone to have a say throughout all of the process

Cornwall Flood Forum

Use drivers within organisations – e.g. consultation officers/community engagement officers stop community action to draw communities and organisations together.

Demonstration of value for money encourages further investment. “Cost benefit analysis” and/or “social return on investment” – what are the measurable outcomes (measured in different ways – money, happiness etc).

Groups growing out of those established by councils – prevented people from reinventing the wheel.

Community development needs to be valued more, and must be funded.

Ongoing funded support for community development vital .

Statutory agencies should be required to involve the community in achieving its ambitions.

Statutory agencies are required to cooperate with each other and devolve money for community involvement.

Party politics should play no part in local politics.

Local politics should be about solving local problems stop harnessing the good practice and knowing how to access it and interpret.

Liability of volunteers?!?! And trustees. Insurance industry not recognising role of the volunteer.

Public bodies increasingly reliant on volunteers so community should be taken more seriously.

Forced down the route of setting up legal entities – should be more straightforward.

Establish national/virtual agencies to share good practice/advice to help local groups to set themselves up without reinventing the wheel.

Empower/sustain community champions by resolving barriers (liability/blame/responsibility).

Immunity for champions?

Share best practice/community knowledge/technical knowledge on a shared basis – through some kind of case study methodology.

Promotion of community champions in local/national media – award schemes, make people more aware/interested??

Funding to encourage innovation.

Support community development workers or equivalent – not all communities can all want to do it on their own. Community capacity building enables more work to be undertaken.

Clear direction on the potential liability. Work with insurance industry to offer cover to support this type of work to give confidence to communities.

Government to invest in the communities to support capacity building through training etc. –

“Give a man a fish etc”. Public sector squeeze will be limited to support this.

Funding from central government in certain specific themes is key e.g. flood forum may not have progressed as well without DEFRA funding.

LA structures to have role to enable/encourage/support communities to do things for themselves.

Money.

But retain localism enablers in local government; more community development workers.

Not so much enforcing things on the community; help the community to help themselves.

Dispelling myths around liability and insurance. More readily available information on this.

More spreading of best practice nationally. National case studies. Stop reinventing the wheel of what works best. Peer support project bank.

Government to collect ideas of best practice from all over UK and learn from them, and to disseminate them to practitioners.

Cornwall flood forum is a good example of communities responding to the impact of climate change. Have you considered promoting this type of approach to cover a wider range of an environmental events?

Need to acknowledge climate change impact will accelerate and we should anticipate a range of scenarios where community activists will be required.

Can you help to ensure that in environment agency resolve to do regular river dredging so the danger from flood events is prevented in the first place.

Support for localism facilitation with district/County councils – enable, support, facilitate.

Appropriate training for residents and of volunteers/group coordinators to build capacity and confidence to take lead.

Manage expectations of the degree and extent to which communities can take the lead – can’t do everything.

Myth busting: toolkits for volunteers; health and safety/ risk management.

Lawrence Weston, Bristol

Do more to make people aware of the localism act, what it means, how they can take part..

Set up more community champions to spread the word and develop community activists from all walks of life. Make the act more equal by giving more deprived communities more help.

Teach localism in schools. Children take part as they grow up, and teach the rest of their families. Encourage young people to take part and develop their leadership skills.

The first step should be a community plan, find out what the community want. Give as much clout to a community plan as a neighbourhood plan; often only a community plan is needed.

Flexibility in community development support.

Promote, value, invest in community development especially in deprived areas.

Culture change, incentives for councillors to adopt change, remove politics and encourage trust both ways.

Engage local people to undertake community work – all voluntary work should not result in benefit reduction: allowed to choose the community work (e.g. long-term unemployed).

Give greater weight to community planning – local people having a say in service delivery (not just planning). Councils and other public sector bodies to use community plans in service delivery.

Recognise that communities need support – so not an easy cut in budget savings!

Listen!! The community has a valid voice. Start-up money – where does it come from?

Barrier busting – getting through the red tape stop localism agenda expects communities to take on too much responsibility.

Disadvantaged communities need more investment to support them to take opportunities presented by localism agenda.

In urban areas it needs to be easier to develop a sustainable structure after a neighbourhood plan has been completed.

Change terminology so that localism is how the local community define what it is e.g. encouraging more local involvement/decision-making.

More emphasis on local people being supported with payment to take more active roles.

Positive funding discrimination – i.e. provide additional/upfront funding to “deprived communities” to access skills which “better off” communities may be able to find within the community.

Allow local people/communities to become aware of opportunities. Local councillors should be mandated to cascade information to their community and represent their community better.

Needs to be a mechanism for councillors to have a better understanding of issues in their area.

Valuing community activists/active citizens and paying them for what they do.

Value and haven for community development to ensure that all voices are heard.

Currently only possible to engage with localism agenda if highly skilled and well resourced (i.e. middle-class).

Incentivising people to get involved, and those on benefits – support the community allowance campaign. Community allowance.org

Succession – embed citizenship in schools, make local structures accessible for young people to engage with, make local politics (with a small p!) attractive to young people.

Could you consider helping more deprived inner-city areas to form parish councils if they want one?

We feel there is a lot of work placed on develop and workers, who help communities gain a voice and overcome barriers to achieving their aims. Can you look at ways to better resource this type of work?

Can you make sure that government funded schemes encourage the employment of local, to use and develop their skills and value their local knowledge.

Area to decide what is appropriate. Funding given to support bottom-up operation is – regardless of scales of deprivation etc. Funding this seed of an idea. Listening to what is needed as identified by local people requires funding.

Maintaining the sense of community which can seem hidden. Not following the Detroit model of allowing an area to go bankrupt hoping that the problem will disperse.

Community interest companies, community forums to be recognised officially. A block vote at local elections. Open to abuse but would force councillors etc to speak to them.

Primacy of community development.

Part of lottery funding to fund localism.

S.106 – East Devon

In spending the community element make sure the community, in the form of residents, is involved.

Make it less complex and make it clearer for people to know what’s going on.

There are ways to encourage the private sector to do localism e.g. good press for developers, involving the community in designing play areas, community centres.

In some areas groups are using community right to bid to block regeneration by having properties listed.

L.A.s work with communities to support NPs to identify land for building. LA is to build more affordable housing.

PB is a good model for use of 106 – an element of C I L should also be available for use in this way.

Money from section 106, C I L, new homes bonus is made available to local communities for local projects and not to allow it to disappear into local authority budgets.

Move away from officer decisions following consultation – eg PB vote to be the final say.

Processes don’t allow creativity – needs to be more fruit – the community to make the right decision. Validity of an open process that involves whole communities rather than two people in a dark room.What safeguards will be put in place with C I L to ensure that local money is spent for improving community infrastructure (other than maintenance of existing infrastructure).

Can you encourage LPA to involve communities in the drawing up of infrastructure delivery plans to increase the prospect of it being spent on locally important infrastructure.

How will you ensure that C I L money goes to support night Cheryl communities (which may be one or more parishes) to reflect the provision and use of community infrastructure?

“Duty to co-operate” should encourage local authorities to adopt participative budgeting methods.

Encourage alternative sources of funding for PB.

Proposals for distributing see C I L should be reassessed in alignment with a more local agenda.

“Duty to cooperate:” with community too.

Localism and growth agendas in conflict. LEPs not seriously considering community projects for use of ESF and single growth fund.

C I L in most cases will bring in less money for infrastructure.

Government guidance on developer value should be equal to community value.

Participatory budgeting builds social capital and should be encouraged.

C I L will be of least help where it is most needed e.g. where no NP, where no private housing. It’s 10% of very little anyway.

Get C I L back to original purpose by requiring it to be spent through PB process.

NP percentage of C I L.

Concern that a percentage of C I L will reduce the amount of hoarding

Section 106 provision of play equipment has to include consultation with young people.

Sidmouth and Exmouth: engagement with schools – children design tender . Building consultation skills, going to the community, mutual benefit with developers.

Community infrastructure Levy. Less money, wider allocation.

concern that C I L will reduce the amount of funding available for communities . This seems to be in opposition to localism.

Need more transparency about funding available like C I L/S106 to make it easier for communities to access it.

Tools such as PB to be shared with parish and town councils as options for spending 15% of C I L.

Other points

Professionals need to adopt approach of technical advisers rather than solution providers/imposers.

Culture change: incentives for councillors to adopt change (remove politics). Trust – both ways. Flexibility.

Community driven, communities taking the lead, community champions/community spirit/support from authorities and agencies.

Share best practice: case studies/methodology/community proofing.

Barriers to being a champion: sustainability (empower champions by supporting)/who’s to blame (liability)/responsibility and confidence/insurance (immunity for community champions).

Funding to encourage innovation.

Community resilience/preparedness/support (within the community)/partnership between communities and authorities.

Getting agencies to commit to postcode accountability on local spend/tax relief for private sector investing in communities/community identity.

Reduction of bureaucracy: streamline legality and processes (especially highways) to enable local people to undertake more locally e.g. grass cutting.

Central directive/incentive to encourage coordination of partners.

Government should look to cooperative business solutions – not just private sector solutions.

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