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Empowerment is not always satisfying

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LGC's panalists consider whether empowerment improves residents’ satisfaction.

“When we engage meaningfully it boosts residents’ satisfaction with the council and helps us to deliver better services. My anxiety about the latest proposals is that they risk establishing a confrontational relationship between residents and councils.”

David Hill, chief executive,Ashford BC

“Good engagement with our residents leads to a closer and more fruitful relationship in understanding needs and expectations.”

Nathan Elvery,director of finance and resources,Croydon LBC

“Hazel Blears does appear to be driving two agendas giving residents more influence over their local areas but also backing the removal of two-tier government. Mixed messages such as these do nothing to bring clarity to local empowerment.”

Karl Sewell,head of policy, performance and communications,Sevenoaks DC

“Our satisfaction bucked the national trend and went up 14% following an intensive engagement programme.”

Donna Hall,chief executive,Chorley BC

"All the evidence suggests that empowering communities is really important, so as officers we’d be foolish to ignore it. The challenge, of course, is coming up with innovative and creative ways to get people involved in decision-making.”

Simon Adams,head of community leadership,Worcestershire CC

“It doesn’t need to improve their satisfaction with their council; it needs to improve their satisfaction with their lives. If people own what they create, this could go some way towards doing that.”

John Atkinson, director of operations,Leadership Centre for Local Government

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