On the eve of the King’s Speech, Locality, the national network for community organisations, has launched its manifesto for the upcoming election, calling for a “community power revolution”.
In its manifesto, Locality lays out a “10-year plan for a country built on thriving neighbourhoods“. It argues that local communities are best placed to transform lives and create a fairer society, and sets out the policies needed to hand power and resources to community organisations.
The manifesto calls on the new government to enact five major reforms to help achieve this vision:
- Introduce a Community Power Act to strengthen community rights. Locality says this will give new rights for communities to take control of local buildings and spaces, shape public services, and control local investment. It will also see the creation of radical new power sharing arrangements to tilt power towards local people
- Create a National Community Ownership Strategy that boosts community ownership and capacity from energy to housing to health
- Put communities in charge of local economic development, giving residents more control over local regeneration spending and devolving employment and skills support to the hyper-local level
- Make collaboration, not competition, the guiding principle of public services. Reforming commissioning and shifting NHS budgets to community-led prevention
- Champion community-led housing and neighbourhood planning – giving communities a tangible stake in their neighbourhoods.
CEO Tony Armstrong said: “The last few years of volatility and crisis has led to a pessimism in our national political debate with a shrinking of the boundaries of what feels possible. We can’t just accept this pessimism. We need a positive vision for the future and to reconnect our national debate with the reality of what is possible – not just despair at how difficult things are.
“We believe the blueprint for a better future already exists – and it’s right here on our doorstep. Across the country, Locality members have proven what is possible when local people use their imagination, energy and abilities to make things happen in their local places. Whether it’s saving much loved community buildings, setting up local services to support people into work, establishing sustainable food networks and community shops, building new homes and wind turbines, these organisations are beacons of hope – pockets of inspiration that show there is a brighter future.
“In our manifesto we set out a bold vision for a community-powered future. Here we are proposing a series of radical reforms that put power firmly in community hands. But crucially we know it can be done because around the country, people are already doing it.
“Communities are achieving amazing things against the odds, and despite barriers. Now is the time to bring community power from the margins to the mainstream and support communities everywhere. Now is the time for a community power revolution”.
Locality’s two-day annual convention starts tomorrow (7 November) in Bristol, bringing together “community organisations, charities, local authorities and key change-makers from across the UK and beyond”.
The manifesto is available at locality.org.uk/locality-manifesto