Bringing 'neighbourhood' centre stage

Michael Carley

A report on a 24-hour event for English unitary authorities, held in 2005, which explored the emerging role for neighbourhoods in local governance.

The key points to emerge from the event were:

  • There needs to be party political consensus – creating better services in neighbourhoods is not a matter of party political controversy.
  • Local authorities need to be in charge, and members should not feel threatened by this process.
  • Engagement with issues at the neighbourhood level offers the possibility of a significant new role for many backbench councillors.
  • Devolving services through neighbourhood management should be a first priority; changes in local governance structures can follow.
  • Strong leadership is needed in reconciling local opinion to unpopular decisions.
  • Roll-out of neighbourhood devolution needs to be city-wide so that benefits are clear to all.