What can we learn from working in neighbourhoods?
Neighbourhood working can help to deliver Localism policies, good partnership working, more active citizenship and civic responsibility, and get local councillors to play strong community leadership roles.
JRF's Working in Neighbourhoods project offers useful lessons for local authorities, neighbourhood practitioners, and communities, drawing on direct experience from practitioners in Bradford, and many other places. It found:
- Neighbourhood workers are key to co-ordinate partners and services, broker agreements and solve problems creatively.
- Active citizenship could be strengthened by tapping into the pool of 'willing localists'.
- Transferring more control to communities requires new mechanisms to share risk and reward between public sector bodies and communities.
- Councillors can play a community leadership role, and be honest with constituents, tackle difficult issues head-on, and mobilise the wider community.
- Central government could offer support, guidance and leadership for action at the local level on the shared challenges facing local public sector organisations and local government.