Cornwall leads the way in unlocking the power of community, Future of Localism report says

“Cornwall has one of the most advanced localism agendas in the country” – that’s according to a recent study that looked at how four very different areas in the UK are working to strengthen community power.

The year-long study, published by Locality, examined how Cornwall, Stevenage, Southwark and Wigan are devolving power and working with communities and parish and town councils as equal partners in decision-making.

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It also outlined the barriers in place at a local level that need to be addressed, and showcased how resident-led partnerships and community organisations are working with local authorities to drive change in their areas.

The report, named ‘Power Partnerships’, stated: “Localism in Cornwall is advanced. Over 100 communities across Cornwall have had assets devolved to local ownership, and 80% of parishes have local service agreements.

“There are also 19 Community Network Panels for parish and town councils across the country to drive local priorities and develop joint strategies, also supported by Cornwall Council’s localism team.”

Jubilee Pool, an iconic feature of the Penzance seafront for 80 years, was transferred to The Friends of Jubilee Pool in 2017

Cornwall’s ground-breaking devolution deal has resulted in many services being delivered locally and residents having more control over how money is spent.

As well as having powers devolved to Cornwall from London, Cornwall Council is also devolving influence, services and assets to local councils, community groups and other organisations within the Duchy.

Devolution's primary purpose is to encourage locally-led service delivery and increase local participation in decision making.

A growing number of assets and services have been successfully devolved to local councils and community organisations, including:

  • Devolved or transferred local management of two sea pools; two skate parks; two visitor centres; a competition level running track; 16 car parks; 17 community buildings; and over 100 parks, gardens, green spaces, play areas, allotments and sports clubs.
  • The Council has also successfully transferred more than 200 public toilets.
  • The Libraries Transformation Programme has re-invigorated library and information services, with 22 sites now being run locally with partners, increasing customer access through increased opening hours in some locations.

Councillor Edwina Hannaford at Camelford Library, which was transferred to the town council as part of Cornwall Council's devolution programme

Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: “We are so proud that Cornwall has been recognised as leading the way in localism in this report.

“Cornwall Council is committed to ‘double devolution’ and devolving responsibility to communities across the county.

“We are living in a period of unprecedented political upheaval. While division seemingly characterises our national politics, investing in localism and putting neighbourhoods in the lead to shape local priories and local services can help deliver the democratic renewal we urgently need as a county.

“Communities need to be front and centre of decisions that affect them and be given the autonomy they deserve to improve their own neighbourhoods.”

Read the full report, Power Partnerships - Learning on Localism.

Story posted on 10 October 2019