Policy update // Snap Election ’17 and Keep it Local in action
Here’s a round up of Locality’s policy and influencing work, including our key priorities this month, and how you can get involved.
Snap general election
This week, Theresa May announced a snap general election to be held on the 8th June. Political commentators, opposition parties, MPs and pretty much everyone else were caught by surprise with this announcement – particularly as May has been putting off rumours of an early election for months.
Parliament will be officially dissolved on the 3rd May as MPs head back to their constituencies to defend their seats. For organisations planning any campaigning or influencing activities in the run up to the election, revisiting both the Charity Commission Guidance on Campaigning and the Lobbying Act will be essential.
Read Tony Armstrong’s blog to hear more about what we will be working to put on the political agenda during this short campaign, and how members can get involved.
Industrial Strategy Green Paper
This month we have also responded to the Government’s Green Paper consultation on its Industrial Strategy. We are concerned that this Strategy – which will shape Britain’s economy and set the agenda for the coming years as we leave the European Union – does not include a robust plan for building an inclusive, social economy which truly works for everyone in it.
In our response, we outline an alternative strategy for a neighbourhood-level approach to economic development, maximising the value of local assets and harnessing the potential of all sectors and citizens within our neighbourhoods.
Keep it Local: Innovation in Action
We’ve been working on a pan-European research project, InnoSI, funded by the European Commission, focused on innovative approaches to social policy. In-depth case study evaluations across 10 countries have highlighted the potential of local initiatives, cross-sector collaboration and social action to tap into new capacities and resources to achieve public policy goals. We have produced a new briefing paper, highlighting innovative pilot projects in Finland, Sweden and Manchester, and the lessons they provide for UK policy. We outline the steps we need to take to finally make decentralisation stick in the UK and harness the potential of place-based strategies to save money and create better services.
Policymakers increasingly recognise that the solutions to many of our most stubborn social challenges lie outside of Whitehall’s reach. By giving local areas control of a wider range of policy levers, services can be shaped around the distinct needs of every person and the full scope of local assets can be harnessed to achieve social change. Read the full briefing paper here.
House of Lords Charities Committee reports
On 26 March, the House of Lords Charities Committee reported on their inquiry into the role of charities in public life.
Locality submitted evidence to this Committee, highlighting the essential role our members play in public life, stimulating active citizenship and civic participation through volunteering and community organising, as catalysts for community cohesion, and bringing together diverse groups to work together for the local neighbourhood.
The Committee makes a number of important recommendations, including on how commissioning can better support delivery from local organisations and charities. You can read more the Committee’s recommendations in Tony’s blog.
Parliamentary event on the Future of Assets
Also last month, we held a panel discussion in the House of Commons to talk about community asset ownership and how we can make it a policy priority in Westminster. We brought together politicians, Locality member organisations and policy experts in an inspiring evening. You can read more about the event, and what our speakers including Jason McCartney MP and Louise Haigh MP had to say here.
Thank you to everyone that has already used our template letter to write to your MP about the Places and Spaces campaign. With the election now planned in June, we will be working over the coming weeks to make sure all political parties are supporting our Community Asset Investment Plan.