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Mar 5

When councils get it right

Collaboration, Yorks and Humber region

Partnerships between local authorities and community organisations are successful in no small part due to the vision and hard work of councillors and council officers.

If you work with an officer or councillor you think deserves recognition, enter them for a Locality Local Authority Good Practice Award.

town hall

Top 5 tips for working with local authority officers and councillors

  1. First, listen to what problems you can help your local authority solve. Their cuts are deeply felt, and they are seeking reliable partners
  2. Be solutions driven and offer a “can do”, grounded approach so typical to our community enterprise sector
  3. Demonstrate how many local people are part of your project, and how many local residents it will benefit. I have often seen the third sector galvanise local spirit and action in a matter of months…
  4. Link your activities to the local authority’s corporate strategy objectives. Our aims often converge!
  5. Talk about pooling resources (not just budgets) and truly working in partnership, co-designing services for the benefit of the public

Calderdale – when councils get it right

I have been working for Locality in Yorkshire & Humber for the last 5 years, and one thing I have witnessed is that local authorities working in close partnership with community organisations hold the key to achieving the most efficient and coordinated outcomes at a local level.

In Calderdale, the local authority truly sees community asset transfer as an inspiring way to give communities more control and more say over the local direction of travel for services to the public.

Calderdale Council transferred one of the first town halls in the UK, and recently awarded a long lease on the largest building to be in community ownership: The Ridings School.

This asset is now run by Centre at Threeways, a dynamic, community-led venture with backing from local entrepreneurs, the local church, and local community organisations. The key word here is local; this has helped Calderdale Council realise they need their services to be more efficiently rooted in the neighbourhood of Ovenden and they will now lease back a large part of the premises as anchor tenants from the community enterprise. This was their model as well to help Hebden Bridge Town Hall have a head start towards financial sustainability.

In Hebden Bridge, Liberal Democrat local councillor Janet Battye was key to championing the project; in Ovenden, Labour councillor Barry Collins has been their long-standing ally. In both cases, council officers Robin Tuddenham, Andrew Pitt and Sian Rogers in the Communities Directorate constantly reminded all involved about the amazing impact these local projects could have on community pride and resourcefulness.

The latest approach in Calderdale is the high level commitment to develop and support a community hubs network, as true prospective partners in delivery for the local authority (a very nice echo to Locality’s Diseconomies of Scale work!)

Locality has also worked closely with Wakefield Council around the restructuring of their libraries service. The local authority wanted provision of libraries services to remain within key community anchor organisations, as much as was possible. Locality supported the individual organisations ambitious to run community-led services in their area; and the local authority’s Development Manager for Libraries Emma Grunwell offered start up grants to the get the projects off the ground, however the local people see fit.

One comment

  1. Samantha Carter-Chiles

    Posted 06/03/14 at 10:51 am  |  Permalink

    Hi Sophie, just read the above, great that Calderdale had such positive comments about the way it works. I work in Swimming Development and I am always pleased with the innovative ways that the local community is involved and included. Although our community is diverse everyone is as equally important.

    Thanks very much!!

    Samantha

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