Devolution commission launched by Locality and Power to Change

The Commission on the Future of Localism is chaired by Lord Kerslake and includes the Labour MP Lisa Nandy and the former Conservative MP Laura Sandys

The national community network Locality and the community business charity Power to Change have launched a new commission to explore how communities and charities can benefit from localism and devolution.

The independent Commission on the Future of Localism, which was launched on Wednesday, will recommend powers, rights and resources to back an increase in neighbourhood governance.

There has been a spate of devolution agreements with cities and regions across the UK, including Greater Manchester, Merseyside and the West Midlands.

Lord Kerslake, the former head of the civil service and president of the Local Government Association, is chairing the commission. He is joined by the Labour MP Lisa Nandy, formerly the shadow minister for civil society, the former Conservative MP Laura Sandys, Sharon Taylor, leader of Stevenage Borough Council, and other community leaders and policy experts.

The commission will hear evidence at events held across the country throughout the rest of the year.

Kerslake said: "I am very pleased to be chairing this new commission. While successive policy initiatives have sought to decentralise power from Westminster to communities, we are still missing the mark in ensuring that all communities have a meaningful stake in the decisions that affect them.

"There must be no return to Whitehall knows best. We need local people in the driving seats of their own neighbourhoods."

Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Locality, said: "Devolution in England is not going far enough to empower communities, reshape services and revitalise local economies.

"The EU referendum showed an urgent need to look at the way power is dispersed within this country, and to unlock capacity within neighbourhoods to build better places from the ground up. This commission will harness ideas and innovation from across communities to develop the solutions needed for a revised localism agenda that can truly put power closer to people."

Vidhya Alakeson, chief executive of Power to Change, said: "This is such an important venture. We firmly believe that more power should be devolved to communities so that local people can take the lead in designing and running their own affairs."

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