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Nov 25

Locality’s response to the Spending Review: “We will be monitoring the great government sell-off of public assets closely.”

Keep it Local, Localism, Policy, Public sector cuts

“Government must do more to support communities to take on the management of local assets and services”

In response to today’s Spending Review, Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive of Locality, the national network of ambitious and enterprising community-led organisations, said:

“Over the coming days the implications of today’s spending review will become clear.

“What was certainly missing from the Chancellor’s announcement was a clear commitment to supporting communities to take on management and ownership of assets such as buildings and land owned by local and central government.

“We will be monitoring the great government sell-off of public assets closely. The eyes of authorities taking a narrow approach to assets disposal must be opened to the social value and additional savings they can realise from transferring assets to community ownership.

“There was also a worrying lack of focus in the Chancellor’s announcement on prevention and early intervention. Cuts in areas such as the local government revenue grant and public health mean that we are storing up problems in the future by not preventing or intervening at an early stage.

“Although it is encouraging to hear the chancellor talk about handing back power to communities, we’re still waiting for what that will look like in real terms. He needs to make sure that devolution does not mean centralising powers at city or county level, but handing power onwards to communities and neighbourhoods.

“This is particularly vital in supporting locally designed and delivered services which are shown to be good value for money, improve the services individuals receive and are more able to focus on prevention and early intervention.”

tony armstrong

5 comments

  1. Jane Cotton

    Posted 26/11/15 at 2:00 pm  |  Permalink

    Hi Tony,
    Continuing on from the conversation we didn’t have time to have at the Convention re the role of Town and Parish Councils:- As you clarified at the Devo workshop, T/PC’s are not relevant and possibly not wanted at city level because they represent another layer of bureaucracy and additional financial burden on taxpayers. So how do you see our role in rural areas? Most District Councils will only accept neighbourhood plans from their TPC’s – and many of those (incl my own tho not me!) are not willing to take on any financial risks at this time. We still have this great opportunity to raise precept without govt intervention. Please advise which direction I should be making the most effort in to support my fairly average rural community to become sustainable?!

    Jane

    • Tony Armstrong

      Tony Armstrong

      Posted 27/11/15 at 1:30 pm  |  Permalink

      Hi Jane

      We see Parish and Town Councils as having a fundamentally important role in their communities. What you’re saying sounds like it could be best answered by our experts in the neighbourhood planning team. Drop them an email and they’ll be happy to continue the conversation and offer you some one to one advice (neighbourhoodplanning@locality.org.uk).

      thanks

      Tony

  2. Ivor

    Posted 26/11/15 at 3:47 pm  |  Permalink

    Hello Tony,

    Amid the emphasis on central government “cuts”, I am of the strong belief that there Local Authority needs to do more to Inspire and Empower local people – as it aims to improve employability for local people – leading to fulfilling career goals. It is also clear to me that local people need a “Champion” at the helm of Local Authority – one who is always willing to go way beyond Leadership, whose passionate about people engagement and naturally driven to rebuild upwards social mobility in our communities.

    I believe that such meaningful engagement between Local Authority Leadership and those it claims to be Listening to in order to Learn and develop connecting services, is not exercised as part of an “inclusion policy” and does more to hinder isolate the potential we have in our Boroughs.

    Finally, I believe that a Local “Champion”, and its Team, needs to be an OutReach focus and Engagement Group that is both commercially and community aware. In order to achieve this, a team needs to be made up of proactive residents (keen to redevelop their employment status) and Local Authority workers.

    Local Authority cannot problem-solve if its unwilling to engage, listen and learn from the failings, challenges and aspirations of its residents. I should know – as I have been proactive in support of my Local Authority – having written a report and submitted it to the CEOs office – they were so impressed with my work that they said “we want to use this work to form a basis of developing the user-involvement service”.

    However, at the helm of this particular Local Authority, they were not even willing to Engage with me – bring me to the table – to listen and learn more about how I can be supportive. This is a great example of the attitudes and failure to provide a “hand-up” to someone like myself who has done so much to support my Local Authority. It could be said that their ethics are in a world of its own.

    So, amid the reduction of “hand-outs”, don’t policy-makers have to become innovative in how they achieve goals? If so, they can only achieve the sort of creative strategies that will turn lives around if Local Authority Leader become a “Champion” for Local People.

    Somehow, I just don’t think they understand any of this.

    We can do much better.

    Kind regards,

    Ivor

    • Tony Armstrong

      Tony Armstrong

      Posted 27/11/15 at 3:42 pm  |  Permalink

      Hi Ivor
      Thanks for your comment.

      I totally agree with your point about how important it is for local authorities to have meaningful engagement with communities if they are to ensure that public services are designed to truly reflect the needs of local communities.

      We know too through our Keep it Local campaign that putting local services in the hands of local people is the best way of ensuring that services deliver better outcomes, are most efficient and provide best value.

      Best wishes

      Tony

  3. Paul

    Posted 19/12/16 at 2:43 pm  |  Permalink

    Ivor,
    Why is “cuts” in inverted commas. speaking as a Citizens advice volunteer I do wonder what is going to be left to partner.
    Given the LA funding for the CAB and that I and well over 75% of the CAB staff is volunteer based and being asked to deliver more it is hard to be optimistic. Most of the ‘imaginative’ solutions here seem to be replacing paid staff in other organisations with voluntary effort from the CAB.
    Not comfortable with this – what jobs are my children going to do? and volunteers and now starting to walk away .

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