We’re Right Here is a campaign led by community leaders calling for a Community Power Act. People’s Health Trust is one of several national organisations supporting the campaign and backing the calls for communities to be given more power to create change.
Community power is part of the solution to the widening levels of inequalities in our society. Communities are best placed to understand the barriers to improving their wellbeing, local area and local economy, and are best placed to understand how these barriers can be tackled locally.
The We’re Right Here campaign is led by seven community leaders from across England who are calling for a Community Power Act. This legislation would shift the balance of power from central government to local people. Over 100 more community leaders are pushing this call for greater power in their own communities across England by holding events and engaging local people.
We’re Right Here are calling for a Community Power Act, a major piece of legislation which would fundamentally change where power lies in this country.
The Act would:
1: Establish three new community rights
- A Community Right to Buy: Giving communities the right of first refusal once buildings and spaces with significant community value come up for sale.
- A Community Right to Shape Public Services: Encouraging greater collaboration between communities and public institutions when designing, commissioning and delivering local services.
- A Community Right to Control Investment: Increasing community control over the key spending decisions which affect local neighbourhoods.
2: Introduce Community Covenants
These neighbourhood-level arrangements would bring local people, community organisations and local authorities together to share power and make decisions.
3: Establish a Community Power Commissioner
This independent office would be charged with ensuring action is taken across government to uphold the new community rights, enable the formation of Community Covenants everywhere, and generally unlock community power.
About the Community Power Act
The Community Power Act is the missing piece of the devolution puzzle – it will build a clear and trusted track along which power can be devolved from Whitehall to regions, local areas and all the way to the neighbourhood level.
There is already a large and growing movement of people around the country taking action in their communities. This Act would remove some of the institutional and legal barriers in their way. And by changing the basic assumption about where power lies, it would also help inspire others to take action so that ultimately every neighbourhood in the country is supported to take control of its future.
A Community Power Act does not ‘create’ community power on its own. That comes from the awesome potential residing in communities everywhere. But this Act is needed to unlock that potential. We’re Right Here looks forward to working with government, parliamentarians, local authorities, civil society organisations and local communities everywhere to make it happen.
These three measures are intended to complement and reinforce one another. The three new community rights provide a basis for action which is supported and enhanced through the formation and work of Community Covenants. Meanwhile the Community Power Commissioner would both drive the formation of Community Covenants and work to ensure that the government upholds communities’ rights fully and effectively.