On Saturday 20th July I published ‘By deeds and their results: How we will strengthen our communities and nation’.
The document sets out the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s vision for stronger communities, explaining why communities matter, what strong communities look like, and what government and partners can do to support their creation.
It also signals the intention that the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government work with other government departments to champion the importance of communities in every aspect of society, and focus its future work on building stronger communities across the country.
When communities are strong, society is strong. Communities can improve health and wellbeing, enable economic prosperity, help improve the local environment, and provide support in times of crisis. But eight years on from the Localism Act – the last piece of legislation focused on supporting communities – the challenges facing communities have evolved, and the time is right to assess and change the way in which government can support communities. This is particularly necessary given the long-term divisions which have been exposed following the vote on the UK’s future membership of the European Union.
‘By deeds and their results’ commits the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to several actions, including:
- Holding a national conversation with communities across England about their view of who we are as a nation, their vision for the future of their community and our country, and what local and national government can and should be doing to support their community to thrive. We want government and all public bodies to renew their understanding of their role in building stronger communities – this should be informed by direct conversations with people, in partnership with our existing local democratic institutions. The conversation will commence following the UK’s formal departure from the European Union.
- Establishing a series of Civic Deal pilots to test how government put into practice the principles in By deeds and their results. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will work jointly with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on these pilots. We will work with each pilot to consider how government activities can be better aligned and co-ordinated to support communities in identifying and delivering their own priorities.
- Publishing a Communities White Paper to renew government’s focus on building stronger communities across England. This will consider, for example, how community rights are strengthened, promoted and made easier to take up; how funding for communities can be more simplified, integrated and less risk averse; and how communities can best shape local services and decision-making more broadly. The final scope of the White Paper will be developed in partnership with communities, including through the national conversation and Civic Deal pilots.
By deeds and their results is underpinned by four pillars, that will inform all work to strengthen communities across our department:
- Trust, connectedness and local pride;
- Active citizenship and local control;
- Shared community spaces;
- Shared prosperity, with no community left behind.
This publication represents the next step in an ongoing conversation with communities that will shape the department’s future activity. By working in partnership with all stakeholders – including other government departments, councils, businesses, faith groups and civil society organisations – we can create an environment that supports and enables stronger communities to flourish.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords