Locality and NAVCA Devolution Principles

Locality and NAVCA, together with their members in West Yorkshire, have produced a joint publication which outlines a set of five key principles that should underpin devolution

Devolution promises an opportunity to reimagine our economy, public services and democracy. Not only can it revive England’s local economies, it can also give people the power to transform their public services and improve where they live. There are well established voluntary and community sector organisations in every part of England that can help devolution achieve this.   

However, devolution has so far failed to involve people and communities. A top-down approach to devolution risks creating new layers of sub-regional decision makers that push influence, power and resources further away from people and communities. 

This is why Locality and NAVCA, together with their members in West Yorkshire, have developed a set of five key principles which should underpin devolution.

Key principles of devolution:

  1. Creating a social economy. Devolution is an opportunity for creating an economy that works for the people in it, strengthening communities and prioritising social justice.
  2. Representation of the voluntary and community sector within new leadership structures. Devolved structures should give local people a strong voice through their voluntary and community groups.
  3. Ensuring accountability through effective community engagement. Strong and identifiable accountability to ensure power structures are responsive to the needs of communities.
  4. Decisions taken at the most local level appropriate. Decision making and spending powers should be at the most appropriate local level, with devolved rights and responsibilities on managing budgets.
  5. Working with local organisations to transform public services. Devolution is a key opportunity for public service innovation through local commissioning and delivery.

Using these principles to shape devolution in your area

In areas where devolution deals have either been announced or are expected, community-led organisations and local infrastructure charities can help involve local people and influence processes locally.

Some areas are running consultations on their deals such as the Sheffield City Region, which is currently seeking submissions. In Leeds, Voluntary Action Leeds organised a devolution roundtable for the local voluntary and community sector where the Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, Tom Riordan, spoke about these principles of devolution.

Voluntary and community sector organisations can use these principles as a framework for local discussions or in submissions to consultations on devolution for their area. They know that the picture is mixed in terms of engagement with voluntary and community organisations, which is why having a coherent message across the local voluntary and community sector is really important.

Local authorities can use these principles as a starting point for conversations with local voluntary and community sector organisations.

Devolution will deliver more for people and communities if it strengthens their involvement in local decision making. Working with local voluntary and community sector organisations is essential to making this happen.

More information can be found on the Navca website - http://www.navca.org.uk/blog/view/realising-the-revolution-