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July 30, 2008

Community Empowerment

It is interesting to compare the key pledges of the English Community Empowerment White Paper, with some of the opportunities we identified in our position statement on community empowerment. Scottish Govt’s Community Empowerment Action Plan will be progressed through a COSLA Task Group which LPL will be part of


A comparison of the key pledges contained in the recent UK Govt Community Empowerment White Paper with Local People Leading’s statement on community empowerment

1 Asset Transfer
LPL statement…….. “As a community becomes empowered – when it has the capacity to do things for itself and exert real influence over local issues – more often than not tangible assets of some sort will also be under community ownership and control. There are few examples of sustainable community empowerment which are not underwritten by an independent, income stream from locally owned assets like: land, buildings, energy generators, housing etc.”

UK Govt White Paper…… “A specialist asset transfer unit will be established within the third sector to provide information on the transfer of publicly owned assets to community management or programme and step up the number of asset transfers.”

2 Community Anchor Organisations
LPL statement…….. “The most common characteristic of communities which empower themselves is that they have been able to unite under the leadership of one locally owned organisation which acts as an ‘anchor’ for future progress. Anchor organisations are led by local people and often support the development of other groups in the community that are committed to local empowerment and sustainability. LPL has made the promotion of the concept of community anchors across Scotland a key objective of its campaign.”

UK Govt White Paper…… “The £70m fund will support community led organisations, in particular neighbourhood based community anchors, to help them offer local facilities and deliver local services. The funding is also designed to allow them to become sustainable social enterprises without being reliant on grant funding. The fund comprises 70% capital and 30% revenue.

3 Delegated management and budgets for local services
LPL statement…….. “These provide potent opportunity to engage with communities. Such services can include; local parks, street cleaning and maintenance, community safety wardens, kerbside collection of recycled waste, the quality of these services.”

UK Govt White Paper…… “Participatory budgeting. All local authorities will be encouraged to use participatory budgeting and neighbourhood management. The DCLG will publish a national strategy later this year to set out how the government’s aspiration for participatory budgeting in all local authorities will be achieved”

4 Community owned social enterprises
LPL statement…….. “Community owned social enterprises are active across Scotland in a variety of markets including: transport, recycling, childcare, training, care of vulnerable citizens, recreation, education, land management, etc. Community businesses help communities build their capacity and confidence and can help establish a local culture of enterprise and entrepreneurship.”

UK Govt White Paper…… “A new social enterprise unit will be set up within the DCLG to recognise the contribution of social enterprise to the department’s objectives. Key areas include social housing, regeneration and creating empowered and cohesive communities. The unit will also champion the knowledge and expertise of social enterprise.”

5 Empowerment Fund
LPL statement…….. “Although, effective community engagement (involving local people in the decisions which affect them) is important and necessary, ti will never by itself be enough to galvanize local energy and enterprise. Particularly when communities need to break through entrenched patterns of poverty, poor health, and economic disadvantage, more is needed than providing opportunities for community engagement.”

UK Govt White Paper…… “This £7.5m Empowerment Fund will replace the DCLG’s proposed strategic partners programme and provide support for existing national third sector organisations operating across England. The fund will focus on the organisations that are helping local communities turn proposals contained in the white paper into practical action on the ground. Key areas include community leadership, involvement in planning and social enterprise.”