“localism is an uncontroversial concept. The large majority of our witnesses were, with some caveats, appreciative of the Government's intentions, enthused by the prospect of more powers being made available to local authorities, communities, and third sector organisations, and welcoming of more opportunities for citizens to influence how their services are designed and delivered”The committee also noted that localism was far from a new idea. However, it suggests that the Government's approach in practice, has thus far been marked by inconsistency and incoherence, not helped by a definition of localism that is extremely elastic. It provided examples as to how this has allowed individual departments to adopt definitions of localism that suit their other policy aims, rather than definitions that are internally consistent or developed in consultation with other stakeholders. Some policy areas remain notably more centralised than others. There is not universal support for the idea that central government should retreat entirely from local affairs, allowing accountability to local people to replace performance monitoring from the centre (i.e. groups that work with vulnerable members of society).
- To lift the burden of bureaucracy—by removing the cost and control of unnecessary red tape and regulation, whose effect is to restrict local action;
- To empower communities to do things their way—by creating rights for people to get involved with, and direct the development of, their communities;
- To increase local control of public finance—so that more of the decisions over how public money is spent and raised can be taken within communities;
- To diversify the supply of public services—by ending public sector monopolies, ensuring a level playing field for all suppliers, giving people more choice and a better standard of service;
- To open up government to public scrutiny—by releasing government information into the public domain, so that people can know how their money is spent, how it is used and to what effect; and
- To strengthen accountability to local people—by giving every citizen the power to change the services provided to them through participation, choice or the ballot box
- Empowering communities: giving local councils and neighbourhoods more power to take decisions and shape their area;
- Opening up public services: enabling charities, social enterprises, private companies and employee-owned co-operatives to compete to offer people high quality services;
- Promoting social action: encouraging and enabling people from all walks of life to play a more active part in society, and promoting more volunteering and philanthropy
Mind you, as reported in the local Staffordshire Newsletter a couple of weeks ago (War of words erupts between Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner candidates), the Labour candidate was also critical of her ‘opponents’ technological idea which is to give patrolling officers an iPad.Not quite the informed approach that we are looking for? C’mon (as they say in Stoke), lets have the real debate.