News on the Sustainable Communities Act
After many months of campaigning, the government has made the regulations on the Sustainable Communities Act! CEL has been a long-time supporter of the Local Works campaign for local participation in local government. The report below is from Steve Shaw of Local Works:
After over a year of delays Communities Minister, Greg Clark, announced in Parliament last week that government had finally prepared the regulations and on Monday they were laid before Parliament. So the Act has been saved from “death by delay” and is alive and kicking!
I would like to say a big thank you for your efforts for making this happen. It took a great deal of campaigning to get government to change its plans on the Act and to make these regulations. Without all your support, it would not have been possible. So thank you!
And what of the regulations themselves? Well, the main points are as follows:-
- Crucially, the regulations retain the rights of people to participate in the Act – councils must not just merely “consult” with local people – they must go further and “try to reach agreement” with them when submitting proposals. Government had taken this out of the Act, leaving it potentially much weaker. We fought hard to ensure this right was put back in – so it is very good news that it has been included in the new regulations.
- The independent “selector” panel that the Act has set up will have the right to challenge government on any proposals government initially rejects and government has to “consult and try to reach agreement” with them. This means government can be brought back to the table and compelled to negotiate and to compromise in order to help communities and promote real local sustainability.
In addition, Greg Clark announced that:
- There will be a time-limit of six months for government to respond to proposals. This will be included in a new, legally binding Memorandum of Understanding between the Selector and government, due to be published over the summer.
- Local Works will be made part of the selector, which means we will be better placed to ensure positive results for communities across the country by ensuring that government does negotiate, compromise and reach agreement with the Selector and not merely consult.
And there is still more positive news: Government has launched a consultation on whether parish councils should be able to submit proposals under the Act – which you can view here: http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/scaconsultation2012
We will be encouraging government to ensure parish councils can use the Act directly.
We are very pleased with this progress. Once again, thank you for all your support in making this happen.
Steve Shaw National Co-ordinator Local Works – promoting the Sustainable Communities Act
office: 020 7278 4443 direct: 020 7239 9053 mobile: 07788 646 933 website: www.localworks.org
address: Local Works, c/o Unlock Democracy, 37 Gray’sInn Rd,LondonWC1X 8PQ