As the agenda for future reforms of English governance at local and neighbourhood level develops, discussions have been underway in policy circles about two related issues; the introduction of “triggers” or “community calls for action”, and the more widespread use of contracts or charters to set out agreed standards of neighbourhood service provision or local priorities.
This discussion paper reviews their purpose, process and language, and suggests how they could be better situated within a broad repertoire of practical tools for neighbourhood problem-solving. It takes forward ideas of neighbourhood charters and agreements, next-generation scrutiny and inquiries, to clarify a wider framework of neighbourhood tools within which calls for action should be situated. It also outlines complementary petition-based paths for community initiatives. The analysis here of how such processes could contribute to empowering people in neighbourhoods is intended to complement Seeing the Wood for the Trees, a previous Young Foundation paper on the future of neighbourhood structures.