Empowerment White Paper Pledges

Empowerment White Paper Pledges
Newstart magazine




The £70m fund will support community led organisations, in particular neighbourhood based community anchors, to help them offer local facilities and deliver local services. The funding is also designed to allow them to become sustainable social enterprises without being reliant on grant funding. The fund comprises 70% capital and 30% revenue.

Who will deliver it? Communitybuilders will be delivered by a national partner selected through a tendering process. Leading contenders for the role of delivery partner include the Adventure Capital Fund, which delivers Futurebuilders, and the Big Lottery Fund.

Timescale: The fund is expected to open for applications in April 2009.


Asset transfer unit


A specialist asset transfer unit will be established within the third sector to provide information on the transfer of publicly owned assets to community management or ownership. It will build on the work of the Advancing Assets for Communities programme and step up the number of asset transfers.

Who will deliver it? The asset transfer unit will work with the DCLG.

Timescale: A review team led by Barry Quirk is expected to make further recommendations in the autumn, when the unit is due to be established. Progress will be reviewed after 12 months.


Social enterprise unit


The unit will be set up within the DCLG to recognise the contribution of social enterprise to the department’s objectives. Key areas include social housing, regeneration and creating empowered and cohesive communities. The unit will also champion the knowledge and expertise of social enterprise.

Who will deliver it? Staff within the DCLG.

Timescale: The unit will be launched in the autumn.


Empowerment fund


This £7.5m fund will replace the DCLG’s proposed strategic partners programme and provide support for existing national third sector organisations operating across England. The fund will focus on the organisations that are helping local communities turn proposals contained in the white paper into practical action on the ground. Key areas include community leadership, involvement in planning and social enterprise.

Who will deliver it? The lead department will be the DClG.

Timescale: A consultation is being launched alongside the white paper, with a commitment to launch the fund in late 2008.


Participatory budgeting


All local authorities will be encouraged to use participatory budgeting. The DClG will publish a national strategy later this year to set out how the government’s aspiration to have participatory budgeting in all local authorities will be achieved.

Who will deliver it? Local authorities and the DCLG.

Timescale: The target for councils to implement participatory budgeting is 2012.

Extension of duty to involve The duty to involve will be extended across additional agencies and bodies throughout England including the Homes and Communities Agency, Jobcentre Plus and regional development agencies. It currently applies to local authorities and requires named bodies to take appropriate steps to involve people in decisions, policies and services that may affect them or be of interest to them.

Who will deliver it? DCLG will deliver the extension to duty to involve through the community empowerment, housing and economic regeneration (CEHER) bill, which will be introduced during the 2008-09 session.

Timescale: Duty to involve comes into effect in April 2009.


Community land trusts (CLTs)


The government is seeking views on a national framework to support CLTs, including principles around democratic participation, the possible corporate, financing and regulatory structures and what more can be done to enable CLTs to develop. The government will also be working with the Development


Trusts Association, Co-operatives


UK and others to provide greater support to organisations that would benefit from community share or bond issues.

Who will deliver it? DCLG.

Timescale: A summary of the responses to the consultation will be published in the autumn.


Community allowance


This will allow community organisations to pay people on benefits to do work that strengthens their communities without it affecting their benefits. Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is also reviewing training and operational guidance for staff in job centres to ensure people are able to take up volunteering opportunities. DWP is considering how to allow community organisations to pay people to do work that strengthens their communities without it affecting their benefits.

Who will deliver it? It is currently is being discussed by the Create Consortium, DWP and DClG, with an aim to pilot the idea.

Timescale: No date set.


Tenant participation compact review


The compact review will take into account changes to the social housing sector, the new duty to involve on councils and new arrangements such as local strategic partnerships and neighbourhood management.

Who will deliver it? DClG.

Timescale: No date set.


 Duty for councils to respond to petitions


Councils will have to respond to petitions relating to their functions areas where they share delivery responsibility. Examples of subjects for petitions were set out in the white paper, ranging from the use of empty properties to the transfer of buildings to the community.  If the council’s overview and scrutiny committee decides the response is not adequate or substantive, it will be able to secure a debate of the full council. The proposed threshold after which a petition leads to a full council debate is set as 5% of the local population signing the petition, but local authorities will be able to set lower thresholds.

Who will deliver it? This proposal will be taken forward by the DCLG through the CEHER bill.

Timescale: It will be introduced in 2009.


Take Part pathfinder programme


The programme will offer training and information for adults about how to be an active citizen in their area. It will build on the existing Take Part network.

Who will to deliver it? DCLG.

Timescale: Set up December 2008, delivery from January 2009.


Community pledgebanks


The government wants to hear from local areas interested in running a community pledgebank pilot. In a community pledgebank, individuals would pledge to provide resources (such as money or skills), to a central pot that would be used to further the priorities identified in the community contract. The contribution would be made on condition that others do the same.

Who will deliver it? DCLG.

Timescale: DCLG will look to start piloting this approach with interested areas in 2009.


Redress review


A review into extending redress for citizens has been launched. Current arrangements are designed to give citizens redress when their council services fail to meet agreed targets. This would review current arrangements across public services, in the private sector, and arrangements in other countries.

Who will deliver it? DCLG

Timescale: The review will report in 2009.