Section three – What could localism be?

Why we have included this section

The clear message from the research is that localism potentially offers opportunities to do things differently to achieve better outcomes: for communities, councillors, voluntary & community sectors, public sector officers, and councils.

…we’re used to being told what to do – now all that’s gone and we can do what we like – what suits the area and the people…it’s liberating and little bit frightening at the same time

What it is about

On the one hand localism suggests working at a very local level. On the other hand it also an opportunity to think beyond one’s own back yard, one’s own constituency, recognising that problems and assets don’t exist in isolation.

An appreciation of subsidiarity is useful – working out the right level to have discussions and make decisions, depending on who they will impact on.

A concern about the the Community Right to Challenge is how to prevent fragmentation of services and retain economies of scale.

The challenge is to get to the underlying issues and reach solutions that work for everyone which means bringing people together to explore new and different ways of getting things done and understanding needs and assets.

Councillors and community/voluntary groups and organisations can make decisions that are right for communities. Long term thinking and a set of values are required to guide the process of working together strategically.

Think place rather than service; the potential to use county or city budgets in new ways, pooling department resources and moving beyond a silo culture.

Localism provides an opportunity to:

  • communicate
  • clarify purpose
  • have honest conversations
  • set groundrules
  • bring different interests together
  • make local connections  so that residents know the local officers who work in the area
  • create dialogue – be treated as equals
  • get people to talk to each other

Now have a look at what people said about what gets in the way