Local government

The Localism Act

The Localism Bill (external link) was introduced to Parliament on 13 December 2010, and was given Royal Assent on 15 November 2011, becoming an Act.

This Bill will shift power from central government back into the hands of individuals, communities and councils.

We are committed to this because over time central government has become too big, too interfering, too controlling and too bureaucratic. This has undermined local democracy and individual responsibility, and stifled innovation and enterprise within public services.

We want to see a radical shift in the balance of power and to decentralise power as far as possible. Localism isn't simply about giving power back to local government. This Government trusts people to take charge of their lives and we will push power downwards and outwards to the lowest possible level, including individuals, neighbourhoods, professionals and communities as well as local councils and other local institutions.

  • for services which are used individually, this means putting power in the hands of individuals themselves
  • where services are enjoyed collectively, they should be delivered by accountable community groups
  • where the scale is too large or those using a service are too dispersed, they should be delivered by local institutions, subject
    to democratic checks and balances, enabled by full transparency.

The Localism Bill includes five key measures that underpin the Government's approach to decentralisation.

  • Community rights
  • Neighbourhood planning
  • Housing
  • General power of competence
  • Empowering cities and other local areas

More information is available on these measures below. Details about the new community rights can be found in the Communities and neighbourhoods section (see link, top right).

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