Governing communities is about creating organizations to deliver public services while promoting the values of local democracy. Citizen participation and partnership working have become key issues.
The White Paper ‘Communities in control: real people, real power’ set out a challenging programme for devolving power to communities. The aim is to pass power into the hands of local communities and generate vibrant local democracy. It contains a programme of policies to tackle some key problems linked to a sense of powerlessness on the part of many people and a feeling that voices are not being heard on a local level. The issues involved include declining levels of democratic engagement, declining perceptions of influence over local decision-making and declining levels of satisfaction with local government in England.
Work on community building is vitally important. Practitioners from across the public, private and voluntary sectors collaborate by providing opportunities for information exchange, problem solving and discussion.
Three quarters of people in the UK feel a strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhood and even more are satisfied with their local area as a place to live. But there are places where there is much less satisfaction and cohesion, and particularly social cohesion, is less strong. Poverty, crime and large scale immigration are some of the factors which reduce cohesion. The Institute of Community Cohesion – iCoCo operates a website designed to bring together practical advice on ways to promote cohesion and integration and to draw on good practice case studies from across the country.
Publicnet carries more than ten years of material about building communities, creating better neighbourhoods, and improving cohesion across the UK.
Here are some links for you to follow. If the particular aspect of communities does not feature in the links below, please use the search facility to track down what you want.
NEIGHBOURHOOD STRATEGY EVALUATION
The Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy, which is funded by the Renewal Fund, has had a beneficial impact on the delivery of services in the 88 most deprived areas of the UK and has boosted partnership working.
Read more about the neighbourhood renewal strategy.
COMMUNITIES TAKE UP SOCIAL MEDIA
Social Networking Sites have become a global phenomenon and the public sector is increasingly recognizing the value of social networking sites to provide easy and accessible information about policies and services.
Read more about communities taking up social media.
BOOSTING INVOLVEMENT OF COMMUNITIES IN SHAPING PUBLIC SERVICES
The Government has published details of the legislation it believes will unlock the potential of local people and involve them in shaping their services and communities.
Read more about involving communities in shaping public services.
CAMPAIGN CALLS FOR RECOGNITION FOR WORK OF BME VOLUNTEERS IN COMMUNITY BUILDING
The Government looks to and often relies upon BME third sector organisations to engage with hard-to-reach sections of the community in delivering many of its policy programmes.
Read more about the work of MBE volunteers in community building.
SURVEY POINTS TO LOCAL DESIRE FOR MORE SAY IN DECISIONS ABOUT THEIR NEIGHBOURHOOD
Every year the survey asks people about community cohesion, discrimination, values, civic engagement and interaction. It is one of the key tools the Government uses to measure the impact of policies.
Read more about communities taking decisions about their neighbourhood.
ENGAGING THE CAPACITY AND CAPABILITIES OF FAITH COMMUNITIES
Strong leadership from faith communities has a key role to play when large scale incidents trigger concerns about social cohesion. Faith communities instinctively respond to the needs of their neighbours in times of crisis.
SOCIAL COHESION GAINING GROUND BUT NOT AMONG YOUNGER ADULTS
Some 80 per cent of people mixed socially with people from different ethnic or religious groups at least once a month. In the over 75 age group this perception of cohesion was 91 per cent, but for the under 34s it was only 77 per cent.
Read more about social cohesion.