Why are councils using community action?

Councils across England are recognising that their communities benefit directly from greater involvement in the way services are delivered.

The ultimate aim of community action is to improve public services and give communities more ownership over the services they use. Other key drivers for undertaking community action include financial, political and strategic need.

Financial drivers

  • Generating savings through cost reduction
  • Enabling more effective commissioning
  • Reducing duplication between services/providers
  • Reducing demand for services
  • Enabling services to be provided within the community
  • Maintaining or improving services/assets.

Community drivers

  • Devolving power to a local level
  • Engaging other people in service design/delivery
  • Meeting community priorities, needs or aspirations
  • Improving community cohesion
  • Providing communities with the skills, tools and support to undertake activities themselves, on a sustainable basis
  • Improving services/assets
  • Reflecting changes in service delivery, such as developing technical skills within the community as council services move online
  • Enhancing the wellbeing of local residents.

Political/strategic drivers

  • Fulfil corporate/service objectives or political priorities
  • The partnership agenda with local bodies/integrating public service provision
  • An opportunity to redefine what services the council should provide and what it should facilitate 
  • Assessing need and identifying gaps in provision
  • Changing the dynamic between the council and community to move away from a ‘them and us' ethos.