Campaign for Greater Local Government Empowerment - Devolution

Our towns and villages are the heartbeat of our nation, each with its own unique set of challenges and needs. Yet, too often, their potential is stifled by a central government that lacks a deep understanding of local nuances. It’s time for a transformative shift that will empower local governments to serve their communities more effectively.

Understanding the Spectrum of Local Needs

The one-size-fits-all approach is failing our diverse communities. Each town and village has its distinct character and priorities, whether that be rural infrastructure, urban renewal, or community health initiatives. We must acknowledge that local knowledge is key to addressing these specific needs. A lump sum of funds directly allocated to local governments is much more effective than general grants handed out to impersonal bodies. By getting funds directly into the hands of those who know their communities best, we can ensure that every penny is spent with the local population’s interests at heart.

The Pitfalls of Council Unification

The current trend of merging councils may seem efficient on paper, but it risks diluting the voices of our smaller communities. Smaller, local councils have their fingers on the pulse of their community’s needs, and blending them into larger bodies can lead to a loss of local representation and accountability. Furthermore, the process of merging councils is not without significant costs—legal fees, rebranding, and systems integration can be expensive and disruptive.

Our Path Forward

Legal and Constitutional Reforms: We must push for reforms that enhance the powers of local governments, granting them autonomy in crucial areas such as fiscal management, planning, education, healthcare, transportation, and policing.

Financial Control: Local governments should have the authority to levy taxes, set fees, manage their budgets, and make investment decisions that reflect local priorities.

Local Decision-Making: Councils must have a greater voice in shaping the future of their communities, from infrastructure to economic development and public services.

Local Engagement: We need resident involvement in local governance, ensuring that decisions are made with transparency and public input through consultations and forums.

Capability Enhancement: Local government officials will be provided with the necessary training and resources to manage increased responsibilities effectively.

Pilot Programmes: We aim to launch pilot programmes that showcase the benefits of local autonomy, setting the stage for wider implementation.

Ensuring Accountability and Effective Management

While we strive for more autonomous local governance, We also recognise the need for strong accountability and management. Local councils must be well-equipped to handle their autonomy. We will ensure there are robust systems in place to hold officials accountable and prevent the waste of resources on vanity projects. These projects, often grand in vision yet lacking in substance, bleed funds that could otherwise enhance community welfare.

Our campaign is not just about shifting power—it’s about building a future where every local government can tailor solutions that resonate with the very people they serve. Together, we can create a framework where local ingenuity thrives, and community voices lead the charge for meaningful change.

Taking action on this issue
  • Advocate for Legal and Constitutional Reforms: Push for changes that boost local government powers in key areas such as fiscal management, planning, and services.
  • Enhance Financial Control: Empower local authorities to manage their finances, including tax levying, budget setting, and investment decisions.
  • Promote Local Decision-Making: Ensure councils have a significant say in local development, infrastructure, and economic strategies.
  • Encourage Citizen Engagement: Facilitate public involvement in decision-making through consultations and participatory forums.
  • Implement Pilot Programmes: Test the benefits of local autonomy through targeted pilot initiatives.
  • Ensure Accountability: Put systems in place to monitor local government performance and prevent misallocation of funds or unnecessary projects

Take part in the building of a brighter future