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People say “We want to use the Act again!” new research shows

Sustainable Communities Act: Perspectives on the first roundWednesday 15 August 2012

Local Works has today published a report into people's experience of using the Sustainable Communities Act during the first round, which ran from 2008 to 2010. You can read the report here.

We interviewed people from across the country who were involved in the Act, for example by submitting a proposal or being part of their council's Citizens' Panel. The results were very encouraging, with participants overwhelmingly positive about their experience of being involved in the Act, seeing it as different to council consultations and feeling like they were genuinely listened to. Some of the key findings of the research were:

  • Most respondents found participating in the Sustainable Communities Act to be a positive experience, with 56% expressing this view as opposed to 18% who found it to be a negative experience.
  • The majority of participants saw the experience as different to council consultations, with 62% expressing this view versus 15% who felt it was not different.
  • Very encouragingly, participants stated overwhelmingly that they would participate in the Act again, with 95% of members of the public saying they would and none saying they would not, and 92% of participants overall saying they would participate again.

The good news is that with the new regulations, people can participate again!

However, many respondents also expressed frustration with the time taken to receive a response to proposals. A number of participants either did not know the outcome of their proposal(s) and of those that did, many were disappointed with the final outcome. For example:

  • 47% of participants did not know the outcome of their proposal.
  • The most common recommendation for improving the process, given by 32% of respondents, was for there to be a time scale for proposals to be dealt with by government.

Local Works welcomes the announcement of Communities Minister's Greg Clark that there will be time-limit of six months for dealing with proposals. The establishment of time-limit will help to address concerns of participants about the time taken to receive a response to proposals. It will also be vital for participants to be given feedback on their proposals and for government and the Selector to ensure that they "try to reach agreement" on proposals, so that there are more positive outcomes for participants in future.

Click here to view the report.

If you would like a hard copy of the report, please contact us at daniel.flanagan@unlockdemocracy.org.uk or 0207 278 4443 (option 4).