Amidst our discussions about the threat to youth work posed by the agendas of commissioning and privatisation the Localism Act has lurked. To be honest we’ve struggled to get a grip on its significance. However insight and illumination are at hand.
On his blog ToUChstone Matt Dykes notes:
The government claims that the Localism Act will “shift power from central government back into the hands of individuals, communities and councils”.
But how far does it devolve to the local level? How will it affect communities and the voluntary groups that serve them? What impact will it have on public services and the workers who deliver them? What will it mean for social housing tenants? And how will its impacts be shared across communities?
In a new publication jointly produced by the TUC and National Coalition for Independent Action, Localism: Threat or Opportunity? a range of diverse voices from the trade union and voluntary sector including TUC, NAVCA, Age UK, Runnymede Trust, Women’s Resource Centre, Shelter, Adur Voluntary Action, Northampton Institute of Urban Affairs and NCIA assess the likely impact of these new powers.
While there is a diverse range of perspective across the different groups included in our publication, a unifying theme that comes through is a shared concern about the government’s ‘big society’ and ‘open public services’ agenda and how the creation of public service markets and an individualist and consumer-led approach to public service reform might lead to growing inequality within and between communities, markets that exclude community participation, competition at the expense of collaboration and localism that devolves responsibility and blame but not resources or power.
Well worth perusing. After which send the link as a gesture of enlightenment to those in the Coalition’s thrall.