Headlines: December 4th, 2007

A framework has been launched to help local authorities and the communities they serve to establish a Citizens’ Day or even a week of activities. The Citizenship Foundation has drawn up the guidance with the Department of Communities and Local Government.

‘The Citizens’ Day Framework: Building cohesive, active and engaged communities’ has been designed to be non-prescriptive, offering advice instead to councils and their partners in the voluntary and community sector as well as for other organisations and individuals who are committed to building community engagement and cohesion. It has been developed following pilot exercises in Birmingham , Hull , Southwark and Stoke-on-Trent .

It includes advice on how a Citizens’ Day could be linked to existing local activities or key dates. It avoids the idea of establishing a national day as the authors believe it is better for each local area to determine its own most appropriate date. They believe that having events designed by and for the local community is a key element in the effectiveness of the Citizens’ Day programme.

The launch included a speech from the Communities Secretary, Hazel Blears, and a panel discussion chaired by Tony Breslin, the Chief Executive of the Citizenship Foundation. Maureen Alderson, Head of Centre for Local Democracy at the Local Government Information Unit, who was one of the panelists, said the framework would offer local authorities, including councillors working with local people, an exciting opportunity to develop programmes focused on their local experience in order to encourage and celebrate their communities.