The Localism Act was introduced in November 2011.
The aim of the act was to devolve more decision making powers from central government back into the hands of individuals, communities and councils. The act covers a wide range of issues related to local public services, with a particularly focus on the general power of competence, community rights, neighbourhood planning and housing. The key measures of the act were grouped under four main headings;
The Department of Communities and Local government published a Plain English Guide to Localism Act.
The GPC was introduced as part of the Localism Act in November 2011.
Under the GPC a local authority has power to do anything that individuals of full legal capacity may do giving authorities the power to take reasonable action they need ‘for the benefit of the authority, its area or persons resident or present in its area'.
It is hoped that the GPC will give local authorities the opportunity to develop new and innovative business models in ways that were previously disallowed. It is further hoped that it will increase confidence, promote innovation and creativity.
The LGA has published an essay ‘Power to make a difference' written by Nicholas Dobson of Pannone Solicitors, the essay explores the potential of the new power.
The LGA will also be undertaking further research with councils on the usage and potential of the GPC and will publish details on this website.
The Localism Act enshrined in law a new set of rights for communities. These are
The Community right to challenge came into force in June 2012. This allows voluntary and community groups, parish councils or two or more members of local authority staff to express an interest in running a service currently commissioned or delivered by a local authority. Where the expressions of interest are accepted, the local authority must run a competitive procurement.
The Community Right to Bid came into force in September 2012. The Community right-to-bid allows communities to nominate buildings and land that they consider to be of value to the community, to be included on a local authority maintained list. If any of the assets on the register are put up for sale, the community is given a window of opportunity to express an interest in purchasing the asset, and another window of opportunity to bid.
The LGA, in partnership with Locality, have published guidance on the community right to bid and asset transfer for Officers and councilors
Further information on the Community Right to bid can be can be found on here
The government has issued a non – statutory advice note on the community right to bid
Read the The advice note
In the Standards Board for England, which previously oversaw complaints about Councillor conduct, was formally abolished.
From 1 July 2012, all standards matters became the responsibility of local authorities, to be handled under the new arrangements. This new arrangements also include a 'Nolan-based' code, the involvement of an independent person in allegations of misconduct, and a new criminal offence for failing to declare or register interests, coming into force.
The LGA has published an illustrative code of conduct for reference.
This hub aims to provide an online forum for councils to discuss the localism agenda, learn more about the provisions of the Localism Act 2011, explore how to implement the legislation to benefit your local communities and share examples of localism in practice. This forum helps to support all those who work in local government from councillors and chief executives through to policy officers, heads of service and front line staff.
What can a mayor do for your city? A consultation – on the DCLG website
The Localism Act 2011: The full legislation – on the Legislation website