What is the ideal local?

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 Brainstorm by Jessica Lock from The Noun ProjectWorkshop idea by Charlotte Eisenhart

All of the workshops at Local Democracy for Everyone have been created by our participants. We’re sharing a summary of each workshop idea to help you decide what you’d most like to participate in – and so that everyone can start to share their comments about each idea.

What is the ideal local?

The challenge:

If you could start with a blank piece of paper, how would you design local government? And how different is that from what we already have? In this workshop we will share our views, and think about what ties our ideas together and where there is disagreement. My aim is for this session to help consider how much is possible under the current local government system and which ideas would require a larger system change.

While everyone in the room will be a localist at heart – there will most likely be a range of views of what ‘good’ local government really looks like. And even what we mean by ‘local’! Any conversation about system change will need to have an understanding of what better outcome we are trying to achieve. And perhaps the current system has many of the building blocks we need, but we just are maybe not using them in the best way. For example, many in the local government family have little awareness of town and parish councils’ current achievements or real potential (I will provide some information I hope will change your opinion of this most local level of government!). Does the ‘ideal local’ require a big system change or for the system to be used in a different way?

#notwestminster #ideal

Charlotte EisenhartCharlotte Eisenhart
Improvement & Development Manager,
National Association of Local Councils

Charlotte is Improvement and Development Manager at NALC. Where she supports the work of the new multi-stakeholder Improvement and Development Board, and manages a range of improvement programmes for town and parish councils.

She previously spent six years managing leadership development programmes for councillors and officers in local government, initially at the Leadership Centre for Local Government, and then at the LGA. All these programmes shared a common aim of supporting councillors at each stage of their political lives, helping to reinvigorate local democracy and encouraging more people to get involved, creating a greater sense of civic pride in our communities. She also is co-founder of Young And In Gov – a network of enthusiastic young(er) people working in and around local government. She likes nothing more than speaking with people who love where they live and what they do!


One thought on “What is the ideal local?

    Sam Durrango said:
    January 6, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Dear Charlotte,

    One of a local government’s duties in my mind would be to issue a local [complementary] currency to help pay for the services that local government is mandated to provide. Using this currency, issued interest-free, people could be employed to do [part-time] work for the council to achieve the level of services and the currency would be acceptable to the population at large since it would be accepted by the council as part payment for council tax.

    We could take this idea further and create local community biogas plants [Anaerobic Digestion – AD] by using a complementary currency to help fund them. When the plant(s) are operational the greatest problem is to persuade ordinary householders to source-separate their organic waste to a high standard for collection as feedstock to the AD plants i.e., without plastic, metal, glass, et c. This can be achieved by issuing money-off coupons to be used to discount energy bills since one of the AD plant outputs is [Green] energy. These money-off coupons could be denominated in Green kWhrs as a reward for pure organic household waste. Local food industries could also join in and save on gate fees for landfill and also gain energy coupons at thye same time.

    These GkWhr coupons would be able to circulate within the local population since all people use energy in their day-to-day lives. The council would begin to gain kudos as this help to ordinary people would enable a much more positive light that the council would be viewed in to the benefit of democracy and all.

    Obviously local currencies & AD are wide topics & I cannot do them both justice here but I hope your interest will be piqued. If you wish to discuss these ideas any further, please contact me, John Thomas, using this e-mail address: itwouldhavekilledanormalman @ googlemail.com.

    Thank you.


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