Localism and the Big Society

We need to ensure that group behaviours are taken into account across policy initiatives

Caroline MacFarland addresses the oversights of the Big Society in not laying out the fundamental means to harness and encourage social group activity. This is vital as clubs and social groups cultivate social capital, wellbeing, and counter social ills such as loneliness and anti-social behaviour. I recently attended the launch of a report by our colleagues at Theos, in partnership with the […]

Yet another feeble paper on civil service reform that will achieve little for local government

George Jones and John Stewart dismiss the Government’s new paper outlining their plan for civil service reform as another inadequate attempt. Civil-service reform should draw heavily upon the experience of local government. Here we go again. The Government’s paper, The Civil Service Reform Plan, is the latest in a long series of such documents that have been published since the Fulton […]

The ‘Big Society’ will not necessarily lead to better elderly care treatment

Di Galpin looks at the Big Society from a philosophical standpoint and questions whether it can be achieved without encouragement from an active state. The Big Society has been vilified as a return to the politics of the New Right; a Trojan horse for smaller government, and feted as the anatomy of the new politics on which to establish the legitimate nature and […]

Nudging citizens towards localism? Links between behaviour change and local action have not yet been thought through sufficiently

Peter John discusses new research into the government’s nudge policy and argues there is a danger that the link between behaviour change and local action will never be sufficiently established if the emphasis is placed solely on decentralisation. Nudging citizens toward localism? – Does the idea of behaviour change, normally associated with the central state, by the use of robust knowledge about what […]

The widespread rejection of elected city mayors is a spanner in the works for the government’s localism agenda.

Ministerial proposals to establish elected city mayors in England date back to the early 1990s, but have struggled to gain traction, despite Tony Blair’s support for the idea. Stuart Wilks-Heeg argues  that Thursday’s referendums underline that supporters of elected mayors, including the government, have failed to make a persuasive case. A likely lack of public enthusiasm for Police and Crime […]

Elected mayors cannot deliver a localist revival

In response to a recent OurKingdom article by Guy Lodge (Mayors for all English cities? A democratic argument) George Jones argues that it is wrong to force referendums on the adoption of elected mayors on the localities and that there are better ways to break with suffocating centralism.   It is ironical that Guy Lodge, who wants to “combat” our centralized system of […]

Social media is an opportunity for local government communications

Local governments are increasingly using social media to communicate with citizens. Dean Spurrell argues that this is not simply another channel used to inform, but an effective way to engage people in two-way communication. The only danger posed to local governments is if they do not adapt.  Social media has changed the way in which we work, socialise and communicate, but the level of its impact and […]

The extent to which police programmes are accountable to national oversight bodies in an age of localism should be clarified for local leaders who have responded positively to the changes in policing

The transformation of policing is real and is gathering momentum. Nick Gargan argues that police chiefs have welcomed and risen to the new localism agenda but central bodies are still administering direct oversight of programmes making it unclear where ultimate accountability lies. The recent Select Committee session on mobile technologies in policing foreshadows a possible local and national tug-of-war. Is […]