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Community budgets in localism bill – Wei

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Proposals for community-based budgets will be outlined in the localism bill, Lord Wei (Con) has suggested.

The coalition’s ‘Big Society’ adviser suggested that the Local Integrated Service (LIS) model would be included in the bill, while setting out some of the “risks and logistical complexities” councils face in aligning themselves with the Big Society agenda on his blog.

He said: “…Mapping, which will be familiar to those that have been involved in Total Place, and which the localism bill and open source planning will take to another level (look out here for Local Integrated Services as a tool and an approach).”  

As revealed by LGC, Barnsley MBC, Blackburn with Darwen BC, Cheshire West & Chester Council and Kingston upon Thames RBC are currently piloting the LIS model, which could lead to radical changes to the way funding is devolved and how communities engage with their public services.

The LIS model, worked up by social enterprise Turning Point, involves getting residents involved in designing and running their public services and pooling budgets at a community level.

Lord Wei also issued a warning to councils looking to embark on wholesale spin offs of their operations into mutuals or social enterprises as a direct response to budgetary pressures.

“[Councils need to] make cuts intelligently rather than in a knee jerk fashion, safeguarding effective and connective local community projects and other external suppliers rather than avoiding to make savings closer to home or spinning out functions as mutuals or social enterprises -  at least until many of them have been able themselves to transition to a more diversified financial position,” he said.

Click here to read Lord Wei’s blog

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