New Local was founded in 1996 as the New Local Government Network (NLGN).

NLGN was originally designed to bring together a new generation of council leaders keen to explore innovative ways of delivering services and rethinking local government. It rapidly established itself as a major influence on the New Labour Government elected in 1997 – developing policies around devolution, mayors and public-private partnerships.

Over time, NLGN evolved into a well-established network of local authorities drawing its membership from councils of all political colours. This strong base allowed NLGN to have a major influence on the devolution agenda of the Coalition Government elected in 2010.

Over the years, NLGN significantly expanded its membership, focused heavily on peer-learning within that membership, reached out to the wider public sector and placed the idea of community power at the heart of its research and campaigning work – including with the seminal report, The Community Paradigm.

In 2020, NLGN changed its name to New Local to reflect the emphasis on community, place and collaboration that is reshaping the way councils and the wider public sector work.