A new raft of provisions from the Department for Communities and Local Government is set to afford community groups with a desire and an ability to run local authority services an opportunity to take the reigns and operate independent of the state. These provisions represent a move to decentralise our nation’s infrastructure and are being pushed forward under the banner ‘Community Right to Challenge’. Existing community-led services operating in the UK include Bulky Bob’s, a social enterprise based in Liverpool which has provided over 34,000 low-income families with access to affordable recycled and refurbished furniture through a program of household waste collection.
Speaking of the new law, Communities Minister Andrew Stunell stated: “The Community Right to Challenge gives communities another opportunity to be the driving force in the future of their local services. As the people who know their communities best and use and rely upon local services it makes sense, that where they feel they can run services better, they should be encouraged and supported to step in and do exactly that.
Already we have seen some excellent achievements from local people taking the reins, and with these revolutionary rights now in place we can look forward to more communities getting involved in making their local areas better places to live.”
What does York think to these new measures?
We’d love to know, so post your thoughts in the comments box below. There are sure to be critics of the move who will see it as a baby step towards a far more concrete privatisation of public services (anyone who lives in an outlying village will know that the uproar this caused with our buses), but on the other hand it’s clear that community-led services have the potential to deliver services tailored incredibly well to the specific needs and budgetary requirements to the localities in which they’re based. Which is probably why you’re reading One&Other right now and not the Metro. Community ventures such as The Arts Barge project and The Bike Rescue project are good examples of what local groups can achieve in our city in a voluntary capacity. Can efforts to transpose the model to our local authority services prove equally successful?