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People Power – report from the Commission on the Future of Localism.  

Locality established the Commission on the Future of Localism in 2017, in partnership with Power to Change, and Chaired by Lord Kerslake to consider how to reinvigorate localism and unlock the power of community. The ambition behind the Localism Act is in danger of waning, and the fundamental shift in power from Westminster to communities has not yet been achieved.  

We have gathered evidence and ideas from policy-makers, local leaders, organisations and communities across the country through evidence events, focus groups, calls for written evidence and survey responses. 

We find that we need radical action to strengthen our local institutions; devolve tangible power resources and control to communities; ensure equality in community participation; and deliver change in local government behaviour and practice to enable local initiatives to thrive. 

Download the People Power – summary report 

Download the People Power – full final report 

Polling findings

New polling from YouGov commissioned for our report shows Britons lack control over decisions that affect their lives:  

  • 80% feel they have not much or no control over the decisions that affect the country 
  • 71% feel they have not much or no control over the decisions that affect their neighbourhood and local community 
  • 70% say that Brexit will give them either the same or even less control over the decisions that affect their local neighbourhood or community  

Download the  YouGov polling summary

Our Commission calls for:  

  • A strengthened partnership between local government and local people. For local government to embrace community-led solutions, including by transferring community buildings to local community organisations, more local control of budgets, and to strengthen community organisations who can make it easier for people to get involved in local activities
  • Central government to create a stronger framework for local decision making by strengthening the Localism Act including increased powers  for communities to take over important buildings with a new Community Right to Buy, to influence public services, through a new ‘services partnership power’, and by granting new powers to strengthen neighbourhood forums
  • Localism to be at the heart of the devolution agenda to ensure initiatives truly strengthen the power of community, enhance community accountability and neighbourhood control. 

Download the People Power – summary report 

Download the People Power – full final report

About our Commissioners:  

  • Lord Kerslake (Chair) President of the LGA and former Head of the Home Civil Service 
  • Alison Haskins, CEO of Halifax Opportunities Trust 
  • Joanna Holmes, CEO of Barton Hill Settlement  
  • Neil Johnson, CEO of Paddington Development Trust 
  • Lisa Nandy, Member of Parliament for Wigan  
  • Laura Sandys, former Member of Parliament for South Thanet, and Vice President of Civic Voice 
  • Councillor Sharon Taylor, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council  
  • Professor Jane Wills, University of Exeter, and author of Locating Localism

Power to Change