New Local - Evidence proves the value of community power – now it’s time for political action
Giving people power over their places and services produces huge benefits, new research shows, and should be reflected in new legislation.
Think tank New Local is calling for a ‘Community Power Act’, after publishing a unique evidence base of ‘community power’ in action – from Camden’s climate assembly, to citizen-led public health in Wigan.
The Act would enshrine a community’s right to influence how their public services are run and how public spaces are used.
The recommendation comes after New Local’s research discovered six key benefits of community power: improved health and wellbeing; greater community resilience; boosted democratic participation; increased community cohesion; more preventative services; and financial savings.
Community Power: The Evidence is the first research to take a comprehensive look at the impact of community power on people, places and public services, featuring examples from across the UK and internationally.
New Local argues that policymakers are failing to recognise the value of community power, partly because they are unable to measure its impact in narrow, conventional terms.
It calls on the Treasury to follow the example of New Zealand and adopt ‘wellbeing budgets’, which will take account of broader health and happiness, as well as narrow financial outcomes.
New Local Senior Policy Researcher Grace Pollard says:
“Our research shows the incredible power we have to improve our own lives, places and public services when we work together.
“The small-scale, innovative local practices shine brightly alone. But taken together they form a community power movement: charting a more hopeful way forward for public services and our broader society.”
New Local Deputy Chief Executive Jessica Studdert says:
“We are sitting at a critical crossroads. The case for community power has been built, and our collective yearning to build back better from a brutal pandemic means we have a new imperative to be bold.”
“For the potential of community power to be fully realised, there needs to be a deep reset of power between communities and public service institutions. From the Treasury down, we need to reconsider how we judge ‘success’ – we can no longer afford to measure tomorrow’s approaches by yesterday’s standards.”
Community Power: The Evidence was written in partnership with Local Trust.
Local Trust Chief Executive Matt Leach says:
“As we emerge from the pandemic, the power of communities to solve problems and create change must not be forgotten. To ensure all communities have equality of opportunity to engage, it is crucial we invest in the most ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods to make sure people living there have the resources and confidence to advocate for local needs, and ensure they don’t miss out once again.”
Notes to Editors
- New Local was founded as New Local Government Network in 1996. It is an independent think tank and network with a mission to transform public services and unlock community power.
- The full report: Community Power: The Evidence is available here
- For more information or to request contact with case studies, please contact Katy Oglethorpe, Director of Communications, on email@example.com or 0791 2161 536.
Latest News from
Civitas - Anti-racism industry creating a dependency upon race experts in which ‘racial divisions are becoming ever more firmly entrenched’, says think-tank report08/04/2021 10:35:00
The anti-racism industry ‘creates a dependency’ upon a race discourse that sows division, finds a new Civitas report. ‘The tragic consequence’, the report finds, ‘is that racial divisions are becoming ever more firmly entrenched’.
The King’s Fund response to The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report02/04/2021 09:10:00
Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, commented on the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities
UK economy will likely bounce back “more strongly than many expect,” says IEA expert01/04/2021 14:35:00
Julian Jessop, Economics Fellow at the free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, responded to the latest GDP data from the Office for National Statistics
Civitas - ‘Nurturing Britain’s high-tech capabilities’ and ‘safeguarding critical industries’ should be central to managing potential risks of economic dependence on China, think-tank report finds01/04/2021 13:35:00
‘British policymakers should think carefully about the degree of economic reliance on China that it is wise to tolerate where critical infrastructure is concerned’, a new think-tank paper suggests.
Commit to new deal for healthcare workers or risk ‘deadly exodus’, IPPR warns government01/04/2021 12:35:00
As many as one in four healthcare workers – equivalent to 330,000 staff - say they are more likely to leave the NHS due to a year of unprecedented pressure, according to new polling by IPPR/YouGov. The figure - which includes the equivalent of 100,000 nurses and 8,000 midwives – adds pressure to a workforce that was experiencing a crisis of unfilled vacancies even before the pandemic.
UK right to call for WTO reform, says IEA expert01/04/2021 11:35:00
Mark Littlewood, Director General at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, responded to the news that Britain it to use its G7 presidency to press for reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
IFS - Scottish Government funding per person is over 30% higher than equivalent English funding. But it has still chosen to use temporary COVID funding to pay for some new permanent spending commitments.01/04/2021 10:35:00
Real-terms funding for the Scottish Government’s day-to-day (or resource) spending in 2021-22 is still set to be 2% lower per person than in 2010-11, after excluding temporary COVID-19 related funding, and adjusting for new responsibilities.
Financial Ombudsman Service needs “major reform,” says new research01/04/2021 09:35:00
A new report from the Institute of Economic Affairs, written by IEA Head of Regulatory Affairs Victoria Hewson, draws attention to the shortcomings of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).