Managing the risks of neighbourhood governance

Published: August 2010 Publication Type: Publication

Author: Saffron Woodcraft

This discussion paper puts forward a framework for managing the risks of neighbourhood governance:
There are strong arguments in support of neighbourhoods being given the powers to act on very local issues, to control local liveability services and community assets, and to influence decisions about a much wider range of issues and mainstream services.

Citizen engagement is crucial for improving public services and creating sustainable and effective strategies for civil and civic regeneration, especially at the very local level. However, any move towards more widespread neighbourhood empowerment brings risks, as previous experiments with devolution have proved. Community control over finances, services and assets brings with it the threats of fragmentation, mismanagement of public goods, the politicisation of neighbourhood issues, and the potential for localised power to create or exaggerate community divisions. These risks increase in diverse or deprived neighbourhoods where ethnic, racial or social relationships are already under pressure.

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