Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Questioning The New Opportunities To Become Involved In Local Decision-Making

03.04.2007
People and organisations that in the past have been excluded from the process are now being invited to participate in decision-making about their own communities, but a new booklet entitled ‘Localism and local governance’, published today by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), questions whether it is really happening.

It was produced following the fourth in a series of special seminars entitled ‘Engaging Citizens’, organised by the ESRC in collaboration with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).

Among a number issues covered by the publication, it queries how open the new governance mechanisms are for local involvement and examines voluntary and community organisations’ readiness to respond, particularly in ‘hard-to-reach’ populations. In addition, it points out that policymakers have added a number of governance mechanisms and structures to encourage engagement – without stopping to consider how they each relate to one another, or the complexity that this presents to the public.

The booklet draws on presentations given at a seminar today by two experts in the field, Marilyn Taylor, Professor of Urban Governance and Regeneration, at the University of the West of England and Stuart Wilks-Heeg, Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Liverpool. Their research indicates that many representatives from voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) still feel that, despite the changes, they are on the margins of the new governance spaces and, from a study of two specific towns in the north of England, only a small minority of residents feel that they are able to influence local decisions.

Professor Taylor points out that although the developments offer new opportunities for engaging in local decision-making and for influencing public service provision, they also present challenges for voluntary and community organisations that do participate, especially those which have had little involvement in partnerships before.

To illustrate this, she says, “All partners need to recognise the demands on community representatives – they may want to be accountable back to their community but often don’t have the resources or time to do this effectively.”

There is also a difficult balance to be struck between the leadership that is required for communities to be effective operators in partnership and the need to spread engagement more widely. She highlights the importance of VCOs maintaining their independent voice if partnerships are to benefit from the distinctive experience that they can bring and for them to realise their potential.

Extensive in-depth research into the state of local democracy in two contrasting northern towns, Burnley and Harrogate, carried out by Doctor Wilks-Heeg and a colleague, revealed that over 30 different organisations, many of them ‘quangos’ with no elected community representatives, have some role in governing the two towns.

He said, “Overall, the elected local authorities control 53 per cent of public spending in Harrogate and, in Burnley, only 40 per cent. However, when it comes to the district councils it’s even lower. Only five per cent of public spending is controlled by each of these two councils, yet we found that the public and media concentrate on ‘the council’, while paying little attention to the much higher spending services.”

Annika Howard | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen

23.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Stagnation in the South Pacific Explains Natural CO2 Fluctuations

23.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

Mat4Rail: EU Research Project on the Railway of the Future

23.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>