Innovation. Influence. Information.

Tag Archives: localism

Page 1 of 1112345...10...Last »

The first Community Energy Strategy: opportunities for local authorities

* The Community Energy (CE) strategy provides a framework for support to increase the role of community groups in the distribution, production and saving of energy; with the aim of contributing to national carbon reduction targets, energy efficiency, local resilience, reductions in fuel poverty and localism.
* It has been developed closely with the various CE groups and coalitions in the UK, and enjoys their broad support. While the focus of the strategy is on communities, the vital role of local authorities in facilitating and co-driving local decentralised energy and energy efficiency is a significant part of the strategy.
* The strategy mainly announces incentives and initiatives which cover England, recognising that in Scotland and Wales, support systems and funding for CE groups already exists and good lessons can be learnt. It will be of interest to those working across different types of local authorities, especially in community engagement, energy and planning.

Rural Communities : Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

This briefing summarises a House of Commons inquiry report on Rural Communities which assesses the Government’s delivery of its rural policy commitments. The report describes the “rural penalty” faced by rural households that pay more council tax whilst receiving less government grant and lacking access to public services and infrastructure. It demands reforms to the local government finance system and makes a range of recommendations to improve support to rural communities, including from local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Local authorities with rural populations will value the report’s breadth of perspective, its clear assessment of the challenges facing today’s rural communities and the particular strategic priorities of rural housing, transport, economic development and community capacity.

House Proud: how councils can raise standards in the private rented sector

The LGiU and the Electrical Safety Council have published a new report focusing on the relationship between local government and the private rented sector (PRS) in relation to property conditions in the sector.

House Proud: how councils can raise standards in the private rented sector, builds on evidence from a survey of 178 councils which showed that eight out of ten local authorities expected to take a more proactive stance with the PRS in future. It also draws on case studies illustrating examples of innovative practice, from Newham Council’s borough-wide compulsory licensing scheme, to a landlord-led improvement alliance in Southend.

The report makes a series of recommendations for both central and local government and calls on central government to give councils more freedom to respond to the private rented sector needs of their local communities. It is relevant to Cabinet Members for Housing, officers working with the private rented sector and anyone with an interest in this issue.

National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) website

* The government has launched a test version of the National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) website
* The website includes new draft planning practice guidance on a range of topics such as viability, the duty to cooperate and neighbourhood planning
* The deadline for feedback is 9 October – the final version will go live later in the year, and no existing guidance will be cancelled until then
* The NPPG website aims to be accessible to all: this briefing is therefore of interest to everyone working in local government, but especially planning officers and elected members

Draft Deregulation Bill – what next?

The Draft Deregulation Bill is intended to “free thousands of businesses from red tape and make life easier for individuals and civil society”. It introduces some potentially controversial new measures, in addition to repealing legislation introduced by the Labour government as part of its own localism programme, and tidying up duplicated and out of date legislation.
It contains a number of proposals that are important for local authorities. This briefing outlines the main implications for local authorities, other than the training, skills, and education provisions, and will be of general interest to elected members and officers.

Connected Localism


Connected Localism, a new collection of essays published by LGiU today argues for radical public service transformation through networks of local innovation.

Much ado about…whole place community budgets

‘Whole place community budgets’ have been lauded by the coalition government as a flagship policy to put major principles of localism, ‘customer first’ service integration, public services reform, and deficit reduction into practice. They also tend to be supported enthusiastically by local government in both community leadership and local results delivery roles. This briefing looks at the progress made (or lack of it) on community budgets since the submission of the four whole area pilots business cases in October 2012 – covering the:
- Business cases themselves;
- ‘Scaling up’ and analytic work undertaken by, amongst others, the LGA and NAO;
- Response from the government around the Budget; the launch of the government’s ‘transformation network’; and
- Issues being raised regarding the role of community budgets in the impending Spending Review, due to be announced on June 26 2013.

It then considers the implications of the results to date for local government as a whole, and individually. This briefing will be of interest to senior politicians, officials and our partners across the local government ‘family’, as well as specifically for policy officers involved in community budget and related work streams.

The Big Lunch: Feeding Community Spirit


Since 2009, LGiU has been analysing the social impact of The Big Lunch. We wanted to understand where Lunches took place, who participated and the difference that this made in communities. What we discovered was profound. Through the simple act of …

NPPF: one year on

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) took full effect from 27 March 2013:
• The framework is based on a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’. From now, the NPPF takes precedence where the local plan is ‘absent, silent or relevant policies are out-of-date’. An up-to-date adopted local plan is therefore critical for local planning authorities (LPAs) – but 51 per cent do not have one.
• There is a concern that LPAs without a plan cannot demonstrate a 5-year ‘deliverable’ supply of specific housing sites (plus a 5 or 20 per cent buffer) – as set out in the NPPF – and will be vulnerable to applications for housing development on land where the community does not want it, especially on greenfield sites where development costs are lower.
• Robust evidence, especially on housing need and market housing, is vital – planning inspectors are looking for a ‘compelling link between what the evidence states and what the plan says’.
• There remains a tension between the pressure to significantly increase the development of new housing nationally, and the rhetoric of localism and the right of communities to shape where they live.
• This briefing will be useful for elected members, planning portfolio holders or executive members, policy and development management planners, and neighbourhood planning officers and forums.

Councillors on the frontline: Government response to Select Committee Report

This briefing reports on the government’s response to the recent Select Committee inquiry on the role that councillors play in their communities.Key recommendations included the possibility of councils transferring the whole responsibility for setting allowances to independent local bodies, and a review of ways that employers can be encouraged to support those of their staff who serve as councillors. Ministers have not accepted any of the Committee’s specific recommendations. In the response, they set out their view of the role of councillors in the context of localism. This briefing will be of interest to all elected members, member support staff, and those involved in community engagement. Some issues are topical for members and officers with responsibilities for commissioning and procurement policies.