Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation

Localism Bill published

Proposals which seek to shift power from central Government into the hands of individuals, communities and councils, were published on 13th December.
The Localism Bill includes measures which could give voluntary sector organisations the opportunity to buy local assets and properties (such as shops or libraries) and to challenge and take over services run by public bodies.
The ‘community right to challenge’ clause would offer voluntary and community groups, as well as social enterprises and local authority employees, the right to express interest in providing a service, even if it is already being run by another party.
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, welcomed the Bill as "another important part of the jigsaw for the voluntary and community sector". In particular he praised both the ‘community right to buy’ and the ‘community right to challenge’ measures saying they will "give people a greater say in how things are run at local level".
"Community assets, both buildings and land, can play a key role in strengthening communities, as a focus for community life and a resource to support local enterprise," he said.
But Etherington too had reservations, warning that the passage of the Bill would need to be paved with the implementation of "appropriate mechanisms", in particular local Compacts, to protect the sector when relationships between local government and communities don't work out.

A guide to the Bill, plus briefings produced by GMCVO, Voluntary Sector North West and NCVO can be downloaded via the links below.

♦ Voluntary and community organisations are urged to join a campaign to ensure that the Bill gives local groups and charities real powers. The Real Power for Communities campaign seeks to mobilise local opinion and local action in order to resist other interests that might want to weaken the powers given to community groups. Leaders of community groups are encouraged to sign up to the campaign website at: www.RP4C.org.uk.
The campaign is led by NAVCA, with support from the Development Trusts Association, bassac, Community Matters and Urban Forum.

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Localism Bill & Local Authorities Financial Settlement - GMCVO briefing.doc874.5 KB