In 2011, the government scrapped the Duty to Involve. The Duty, which came into force in April 2009, required local councils to inform, consult and involve citizens in decision-making where appropriate and to ‘embed a culture of engagement and empowerment’. It was part of the statutory guidance on ‘Creating Strong, Prosperous and Safe Communities Act’.
The Department for Communities and Local Government’s has replaced the Duty with Best Value Statutory Guidance, a much shorter document which repealed both the Duty to Involve, and the Duty to prepare a sustainable community strategy. It does retain a requirement for councils to consult with citizens, but the focus is largely on service commissioning.
The proposal has stimulated widespread discussion (some of which is gathered here in a bitly bundle) covering the role of law in changing behaviour, the motivations of local council staff and managers, the dangers of consultation as a box-ticking exercise, and what opportunities remain within the new guidance.
During the govenrnment’s consultation on the Duty, Involve also asked our networks to respond with their experiences of the Duty, and collated these responses in a submission to CLG.
Despite the proposed repeal of the Duty to Involve, government and local authorities have a clear commitment to engage citizens in decisions and promote autonomous citizen empowerment through the Big Society agenda. Involve continues to work with all levels of government to help this happen as effectively as possible, whether through running events, training workshops or providing advice from our extensive research on what works and what doesn’t.
To find out more about how Involve can help please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image by Wayne Large