Community Calling: People want more influence

August 4, 2022  

Communities want to have more influence over the issues they face, the challenges they want to overcome, and the services they use.

This report sets out the passion for that change.

People understand that different places may face different issues and may need different solutions. They understand the nature of both national and local problems and they have ideas for what their community needs and how they can be part of the solution. They also trust and recognise the important role of councils and community groups and want more opportunity to influence decision-making.

Headlines

There is a fundamental lack of trust in Westminster politicians to tackle national issues – The majority of people were unconfident in Westminster’s ability to tackle the cost-of-living crisis (66% unconfident), loneliness/wellbeing (56%), Levelling Up (54%), and
climate change (51%).

There is a strong sense of disconnect between those decision makers at the top and the public – 79% think Westminster and Whitehall are making decisions about people and places they know little about.

There is an appetite for more local control – 79% of people think the best decisions are made when the people who will be affected are closely involved in the process and 75% think that allowing communities to have more of a say in decisions that affect their area would be more
effective than decisions taken centrally.

People want more control and influence but within existing governance structure – the Red Wall and Swing Seat focus groups highlighted how existing tiers of government (local councils, parish councils) should play an important role to avoid duplication, overcome
disagreements, and avoid exploitation of any new system.

Local figures were most trusted – 53% of people had trust in members of their local community to have their community’s best interests at heart with 45% trusting local charitable/grassroots organisations, 33% trusting councils, and 8% trusting national politicians.

People understand spatial variation – the Red Wall and Swing Seat focus groups demonstrated a clear understanding that different places have different issues and will need different solutions.

An overwhelming majority of people support full funding of councils – 79% of people think national politicians should guarantee funding for local councils so they can invest in communities.

The local people know what’s best for them and the decisions that need to be made. – Focus group participant


Date
August 4, 2022
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