'Citizen Engagement and Public Services: Why Neighbourhoods Matter' and 'Vibrant Local Leadership' follow the launch last July of local:vision (The future of local government: Developing a 10 year vision) which opened the debate on what local government should look like in 10 years' time.
There are proposals to strengthen local leadership. Government will be seeking to allow more options for how councils are run, in particular working in partnership with local authorities to develop a new approach to create more mayors, with more powers to transform our major cities. The documents also set out plans to strengthen the role of councils in leading their areas and of individual ward councillors
- as the leaders and advocates of their neighbourhoods and communities.
Local government minister Nick Raynsford said: 'The government wants to see opportunities for neighbourhoods everywhere that make a real difference to people's lives. This will help to create sustainable communities; places in which people want to live, work, learn and play.
'Effective local leadership is vital to the economic, social and environmental success of local communities and councils have a pivotal role to play in providing this leadership. We need clearer roles for councillors and better ways of attracting talented people to the role.
'This launches a new phase of the local:vision debate and we welcome views on these discussion documents.'
Home Office minister, Hazel Blears, added: 'The work on citizen engagement at the neighbourhood level builds on what the government is already doing on police reform and to tackle anti-social behaviour. People actively engaged in their neighbourhoods can help to make their surrounding environment cleaner and safer and somewhere they enjoy living.'
Citizen Engagement and Public Services: Why Neighbourhoods Matter sets out the foundation for a Neighbourhoods Charter, which could be
accompanied by a menu of options from which neighbourhoods could
choose appropriate arrangements for their circumstances.
A variety of options are discussed in the paper. Neighbourhoods would choose those options most appropriate for that neighbourhood. Options would include:
- Extra anti-social behaviour-related powers for neighbourhood bodies
- Delegation of budgets to ward councillors
- Access to more information on the performance of councils
- Triggers for action for neighbourhood bodies when the quality, accessibility and standards of public service fall below expected standards
- Introduction of model byelaws
- Neighbourhood contracts with service providers
- Neighbourhood ownership and management of community assets
- Increased opportunities for communities to set up parish councils where there is sufficient demand - including removing the barrier on urban parishes in London.
The main topics for debate set out in Vibrant Local Leadership
1. Both of today's publications can be found on the ODPM website.
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