NEW: NAVCA's Director of Policy and Communications has contributed an article to a new guide: Localism: threat or opportunity? Perspectives on the Localism Act for union and community organisers and activists
The Localism Act received the Royal Assent on 15 November 2011, after eleven months' parliamentary scrutiny. The government also published a Plain English Guide to the Act. The Act aims to free local authorities and local communities by devolving more decision making power to them from central government. It reserves to central government, however, wide-ranging powers to ensure that local decisions do not conflict with national policy priorities.
The government has set out the five key measures in the Localism Act:
- Community Rights
- Neighbourhood planning
- Empowering cities and other local areas
- General power of competence
Many of the provisions in the Localism Act were brought into effect by a Commencement Order in January 2012.
The General Power of Competence for local authorities came into force in February 2012.
The Community Right to Build came into force on 29 May 2012.
The Community Right to Challenge came into force on 27 June 2012.
Regulations governing Assets of Community Value (aka the 'Community Right to Bid') were published on 2 July 2012.
The provisions around Assets of Community Value came into force on 21 September 2012.
The government has developed a new Community Rights website which sets out more information on each of the Rights and how to use them.
NAVCA welcomed the new community rights enshrined in the Act, while sounding a note of caution about whether the new provisions will successfully deliver the government's stated aims. Together with Urban Forum and local host organisations, NAVCA ran a series of Community Rights Made Real events across England to explore the community rights. Presentations from these events are available online.
NAVCA also established the Real Power for Communities campaign to keep colleagues up to date with developments and to try to ensure that the Localism Act delivers the powers that were promised to voluntary and community groups, rather than only to local government.
This following resources are intended to help you understand the effects of the Act on the voluntary and community sector:
- NAVCA briefings and bulletins
- NAVCA consultation responses
- More information - Localism and Community Rights
- No Nonsense Guide to Localism - presentation by Dave Chapman, Head of Social Action at Locality
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