Empowering communities to influence local decision-making: Evidence-based lessons for policy makers and practitioners

Lawrence PRATCHETT, Catherine Durose, Vivien Lowndes, Graham Smith, Gerry STOKER, Corinne Wales

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


    What lessons can be drawn from real attempts to empower communities?
    This question is a fundamentally simple but nonetheless elusive one to
    answer. Despite its current importance to policy makers and practitioners
    alike, community empowerment is not easy to achieve. We know that there
    is significant variation between localities in terms of both what citizens want
    and what public bodies can provide. Localities vary in terms of both the
    demand for empowerment opportunities among citizens (shaped by the
    socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of the locality) and in the
    supply of empowerment opportunities offered to citizens by local authorities
    and other agencies (shaped by both the political and organisational
    characteristics of the area).
    Drawing on a systematic review of published evidence, this document is able
    to provide lessons on empowerment that are not speculative but are founded
    on detailed analysis of where empowerment has worked. The purpose of this
    short report is to draw out key lessons from that analysis for policy makers
    and practitioners. The aim is to enable policy makers and practitioners to
    develop workable activities for empowerment underpinned by a sound
    evidence base. The full research report is available on the Communities and
    Local Government website.
    Building on some of the key policies outlined in the Communities in
    control: real people, real power white paper, this report focuses on six key
    mechanisms that will facilitate empowerment and a sense of being able to
    influence and shape local decision making.
    • Asset transfer
    • Citizen governance
    • Electronic participation
    • Participatory budgeting
    • Petitions
    • Redress
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherDepartment for Communities and Local Government, HM Government, United Kingdom
    Number of pages37
    ISBN (Print)9781409814726
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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