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Localism 2.0: Empowering the Civic State

Partnership opportunity for forthcoming project

The Localism agenda presents an unprecedented opportunity for local authorities and their partners in civil society to develop innovative approaches to service delivery and economic renewal.  Empowering local authorities to meaningfully develop their roles as “civic brokers” and fulcrums of local or regional economic activity could radically change the relationship between the state, the citizen and business.

ResPublica will be conducting a wide-reaching programme of research that will engage practically with partners in local government and other community intermediaries to map out the need for further reform to achieve a deeper, more radical localism. 

Despite most of the Localism Act now being in force, it needs to be asked whether its current provisions go far enough in allowing local authorities to spearhead the revolution towards community and citizen-led public services.  Can more be done in this regard to promote the role of local authorities as 'civic brokers' and social investors in their communities.

In answer, ResPublica will over the course of this project explore a number of themes:

From Local State to Civic State: Building on the new General Power of Competence, this theme will examine how cities, towns and communities could be further empowered to spearhead community-led economic and social renewal. 
A Blueprint for Community Rights: This research theme will conduct an in-depth analysis of the newly established community rights to bid, buy, challenge and build. It will review in particular the rights to challenge and bid, engaging closely with service providers and their communities to track development and success – taking into consideration recent ‘social value’ legislation. 
Local Financing Initiatives: This research theme we will examine inventive ways in which the latent capital locked-up in communities could be tapped to encourage investment – including local peer-to-peer lending networks, neighbourhood 'Growth Bonds' and community share issue vehicles.  
Community-led Infrastructure and Planning: Building on the successes of our Financing for Growth report on hybrid-funding models for infrastructure investment, this theme will explore how both financial and social investment in local infrastructure can foster meaningful collaboration between local government, communities and the private sector. 

Participatory and ‘Hyperlocal’ Democracy: Giving citizens a greater sense of ownership over council decisions would make council services more effective and responsive. As well as reviewing how local authorities can engage with communities, this theme will examine how intermediaries, such as parish councils and housing associations, could themselves encourage community participation.

Part of ResPublica's Models and Partnerships for Social Prosperity workstream, this project is now open to external engagement from the public, private and third sectors. We would like to establish a consortium of sponsors who will feed in to our further research and debate in this area and benefit from co-branding on publications and events.

For more information or to discuss partnership opportunities, please contact Adam Wildman, Research Manager, or 020 7222 6552.

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Detailed Summary

Date Published
29 January 2013

Models and Partnerships for Social Prosperity