Transforming Neighbourhoods: Lessons from Local Work in Fifteen Areas

Published: October 2007 Publication Type: Publication

Authors: Nicola Bacon, Saffron Woodcraft, Vicki Sellick

For the last decade, there has been increased political focus – both in Whitehall and in local government – on the need to boost opportunities for residents, both as individuals and collectively, to influence what happens in the local areas in which they live.

In 2005, when the Young Foundation set up its Transforming Neighbourhoods programme, Ministers began to talk of ‘double devolution’, a debate which culminated in a White Paper with a strong message about the need to involve citizens in decision making and service provision.

Forward thinking local authorities have been testing innovative models to involve citizens, support local councillors and devolve powers to communities for many years.

This report highlights the work of the 15 authorities that became partners in Transforming Neighbourhoods, drawing on the intensive practical work carried out in each area within the programme. Despite the unique circumstances of each area we found that many of the┬áchallenges local authorities faced were the same, but played out in different contexts. This report explores the four areas which we found to be critical to effective locality working: developing appropriate and effective neighbourhood working structures; nurturing and supporting the people involved – officers, councillors, residents and community representatives; managing change, transitions and the processes through which neighbourhood decisions are made; and creating the right organisational culture where clear leadership fosters and supports good working relationships and innovations at the very local level.

This report summarises the lessons learned from the programme, and describes how councils can put them into practice. It identified four critical components of effective neighbourhood working:

  • structures
  • people
  • process, and
  • organisational culture

Download a full PDF version of the report.