Designed to move democratic power back from central government, to council’s, communities and individuals. Over time “central government has become too big, too interfering, too controlling and too bureaucratic. This has undermined local democracy and individual responsibility, and stifled innovation and enterprise within public services.” The Bill was enacted at the end of 2011, and major elements came into being from April 2012.
The Localism Bill includes five key measures that underpin the Coalition Government’s approach to this decentralisation.
- Community rights – enshrines the right of a community to bid for local assets that are important to them eg recreational space, local library, village shop.
Neighbourhood planning – the ability for a community to form a neighbourhood forum to spatially plan it’s own locality, and for that to become part of local development plans (LDF’s)
Social housing – the ability for local council’s and housing associations to make more local decisions.
General power of competence- this gives local authorities the legal capacity to do anything an individual can do that isn’t specifically prohibited eg a council can hold prayers before a meeting if it is agreed to do so, but cannot raise taxes.
Empowering cities and other local areas – the ability for major cities to plan their own development and growth eg Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield.