Residents in control: governance, engagement and accountability
New settlements provide a huge opportunity to govern communities differently - with residents in command of what happens locally. Neighbourhoods can be planned, designed and established where people are able to articulate their views, where these views are taken seriously and where they are encouraged to play an active part in the life of their community, provide better living environments and ultimately more sustainable communities.
Be clear about when residents are being informed, consulted or are participating in decision making.
See: Walker Riverside
Where new communities have a high proportion of young residents, practitioners will need to think creatively about how best to engage with them.
See: Castle Vale
Local authorities and their partners need to take a proactive approach to broadening consultation beyond 'the usual suspects'.
All neighbourhoods will have periods where they are affected by a particular problem. Local authorities may find it helpful to actively investigate the causes of these problems.
Achieving this will require appropriate structures of governance that allow residents to drive what happens in their communities. It will also require less formal opportunities for residents to express themselves and, through the various contributions they make, to shape the future of their localities.
Questions to consider:
- What sort of governance culture are you creating in the place you are working in?
- What sort of opportunities for influence, participation and ownership will be provided?
- What formal, quasi-formal and informal methods of engagement will be used to engage the community?
- How are you making decisions accountable? Is there an open process and a means of redress for residents?
- Are you making the most of opportunities for communities to have a say in how budgets are spent?
- How are you developing residents, including potential leaders?
- What opportunities are you providing for residents to develop their skills, including leadership skills?