This event, hosted by UK think tank Localis will launch their latest report ‘Renewing neighbourhood democracy – creating powerful communities’.
The promise of subsidiarity, or double devolution, as a mechanism for giving communities greater power and control over decision-making and resources, has been a promise much vaunted of but largely unfulfilled. There are exceptions, but on the whole it has been regarded a faded new localist dawn at best.
From a localist viewpoint, this failure to achieve devolutionary potential must be seen as a risk ahead of the imminent and eagerly-awaited arrival of Local Recovery and Devolution White Paper. This is set to put into motion a new wave of unitary local authorities and Mayoral Combined Authorities serving ever larger populations – when England already has the largest units of local government across Europe. In this context, the gap between the promise and reality of double devolution is liable to be construed as a convenient political fig-leaf – masking the failure to hold a fundamental debate about the role of local government, neighbourhood democracy and the relationship between centre and locality.
Starting from the view that the devolution journey must be as open, accessible and as meaningful as possible for communities and places to thrive in an inclusive and sustainable way, this research project will develop an evidence base to explain the mechanisms and tools for giving communities greater powers and control.
A particular focus will be given to examples of double devolution that don’t leave poorer or ‘left behind’ areas, further behind.