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Devolution policy

Devolution offers an opportunity to reimagine our economy, public services and democracy. It has the potential to revive local economies, use economic growth and new investment to support social justice, and give people the power to transform their public services and improve where they live.

devolution map of England

What Locality & NAVCA believe

There are well established voluntary and community sector organisations in every part of England that can make sure devolution works for people and communities.    

However, devolution has so far largely failed to involve people and communities. Without the right principles driving the development of devolution – from initial deals, through to implementation and beyond – the potential of devolution will not be realised.

Instead, a top down approach to devolution, and new layers of sub-regional decision makers, could push influence, power and resources away from people and communities. The focus on economic growth and building new infrastructure within cities could also be to the detriment of areas with the highest levels of deprivation.

What are Locality & NAVCA doing?

Locality and NAVCA, together with our members in West Yorkshire, have developed a set of five key principles which should underpin devolution.

Read the Devolution for People and Communities report from NAVCA and Locality.

Key principles of devolution:

1. Creating a social economy.

2. Representation of the voluntary and community sector within new leadership structures.

3. Ensuring accountability through effective community engagement.

4. Decisions taken at the most local level appropriate.

5. Working with local organisations to transform public services.


Shaping devolution in your area

In areas where devolution deals have either been announced or are expected, community-led organisations and local infrastructure charities can help involve local people and influence processes locally.

Some areas are running consultations on their deals – see for example the Sheffield City Region which is currently seeking submissions. In Leeds, Voluntary Action Leeds organised a devolution roundtable for the local voluntary and community sector where the Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, Tom Riordan, spoke about our principles of devolution.

Voluntary and community sector organisations can use these principles as a framework for local discussions or in submissions to consultations on devolution for their area. We know that the picture is mixed in terms of engagement with voluntary and community organisations, which is why having a coherent message across the local voluntary and community sector is really important.

Local authorities can use these principles as a starting point for conversations with local voluntary and community sector organisations. NAVCA and Locality members would be happy to help facilitate local discussions.


Get in touch with  at Locality or  at NAVCA to share your experiences of what is happening with devolution in your local area.