Community groups and organisations sometimes operate in ways which are not accountable. Issues around legitimacy and governance can lead to judgements about fitness for purpose. There is often a need for more checks and balances.
There is a concern about how voices in communities are heard if community groups and organisations only speak for their members. How do they instigate dialogue with people outside established groups?
The ethos of groups who may take up the right to challenge to run services is another concern, especially if they hold specific and rigid views around what they offer to whom. For instance, a faith group took over a local centre and refused to continue to rent rooms out for baby yoga sessions.
In many areas there is a lack of local voluntary and community sector infrastructure which could lead the way for interested parties to claim to ‘speak’ on behalf of communities. There is also a danger of corporate support to community groups to act in developers’ interests.
Significant risk of predatory private interests and national third sector interest
We need an infrastructure that is community led and community run – if this is sufficient we can have spokespeople who have a mandate to speak
There are issues around the capacity of the community and voluntary sector to sustainably run assets over a long period of time and this is a concern, particularly as many local authorities are currently cutting core costs to the VCS in an effort to reduce their budgets. The skills and confidence to run facilities, services and manage assets is something that needs work and support.
Community and voluntary infrastructure is not equipped to take a scrutiny role and yet this would be a natural progression of the idea of localism.
The Audit Commission and targets are gone and there is now a need for us to find alternative ways to monitor local authorities…use emerging resident voice to monitor the public sector. Don’t need to bring in Circo – the people in the group are the resources and the energy we have.
There is widespread concern that the new community rights could lead to opposition between people and groups in communities and that higher capacity groups will take advantage. This could lead to rivalry in some areas, and the potential for divisions and lack of capacity will be exposed
Right to bid can pit neighbour against neighbour
Danger of middle classes getting what they want
Now have a look at what people said about Councils