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People and government,

working together to make life better

The Government action plan
A government action plan led by the
Home Office Our vision 3
Rt Hon Charles Clarke, Home Secretary – Rt Hon Hazel Blears, Minister of State
Published by the Civil Renewal Unit,
Communities Group, Home Office Together We Can improve our quality of life 4
Crown copyright 2005
Our strategy 7
The Civil Renewal Unit is part of the Home
Citizens and democracy 10
Office’s Communities Group.
Regeneration and cohesion 13
We promote the active involvement of citizens,
communities and public bodies in working Safety and justice 17
together to improve people’s quality of life.
Health and sustainability 20
The government departments
Our partners 24
contributing to Together We Can are:
• Cabinet Office Learning and research 27
• Department for Constitutional Affairs How will we know it’s working? 28
• Department for Culture, Media and Sport
• Department for Education and Skills
• Department for Environment, Food Appendix
and Rural Affairs
Together We Can 29
• Department of Health The Government’s action plan to bring people and government closer
• Department of Trade and Industry
Credits 44
• Department for Transport
• Department for Work and Pensions
• Her Majesty’s Treasury
• The Home Office
2 • Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 1
“There’s a lot right about our
society, but there is a
great deal more that can be
done to make it better.
We believe that local people working together with government at every
level have the imagination, talent and common sense to solve problems.
But more than simply fixing what's wrong we believe that local people
have the capacity to innovate, improve and enhance local services and
facilities. The best ideas often come from the people at the sharp end.
We want to transform the relationship between citizens and the state, to
pass more power, control and influence from the centre to local communities.
The Home Office has led the creation of the Together We Can action plan and we
are delighted that our colleagues across government - twelve departments in all -
are taking part with us.
The Together We Can action plan is an important benchmark in giving people
control over their own communities. It demonstrates where significant and often
inspirational progress has been made. It shows how local people with the proper
support and guidance can transform their own lives.

It's not easy, but it's not impossible either. This document shows us how.

Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP

Home Secretary Minister of State
together we can improve between government and citizens. But this
problem can be solved when people work
together, pool their collective wisdom and

our quality of life resources, and share the public responsibility

for decisions. The chasm can be bridged.

In many ways our quality of life is improving all How did we get here? Part of the reason is Power to the people
the time, but for many people, this is hard to increasing mobility within society. We move
believe. Many people feel powerless to do around a lot more than our parents and
anything about the issues that affect their daily grandparents did. We move to new jobs, Just because people feel powerless and don’t
lives; issues such as vandalism in their streets, leaving our extended families and social ties get involved, it doesn’t mean that they are
the lack of anywhere safe for children to play, or behind us. Our sense of belonging to a single apathetic about public problems. In fact most
not being able to get the health care they need. community has changed. people will say they would like to play a role
in the decisions affecting their communities, if
Statistics such as crime figures may fall, but if Another factor is the way public services now only they felt that their views would really
the public announcements don’t reflect operate. The power which used to reside in count. The challenge for us is to tap into
people’s own personal experience, they are stable communities able to deal with a wide people’s real desire to make a difference and
unlikely to believe the official record. Making range of local concerns is now spread across engage them in a constructive manner in
improvements to the ‘bigger picture’ is no a diverse range of complex public agencies shaping public policies and services.
consolation to the person who feels unable to and organisations. It’s hard to find the way in,
walk the streets safely, or feels isolated and even if you know which door to knock on. Then, when they see that their contribution is
disconnected from their neighbours. really valued by the public bodies concerned,
Between 2001 and 2003, the Home Office’s they feel a greater sense of ownership of the
For some, the organisations which take the Citizenship Survey found that fewer people results and they are more willing to make the
decisions seem beyond their influence, so thought they had any influence over the solutions stick.
people are left with a diminishing sense of decisions affecting their local areas: a fall from
confidence and responsibility. Increasingly, 43 to 38 per cent. And in the 2005 General When people feel empowered and become
they believe that public authorities – such as Election, although more people turned out to more involved, other benefits follow. People
councils, police, the Government – are not vote than in 2001, the trend is still literally feel better. They are healthier, their
interested in their concerns, let alone their downward, especially among young voters. educational attainment rises, crime falls and so
opinions. They feel that nothing they can do does the fear of crime. People have more
It all points towards a spiral of declining trust confidence in the criminal justice system, there
will make a difference, so they stop trying and
and engagement in finding public solutions to are fewer social tensions and neighbourhoods
so, often, does the public body responsible
public problems, and a chasm opening that were once run down, become better
for providing services.
4 places to live – even sought after. 5
Empowerment does work Our strategy
Throughout the country there are shining
examples of how communities have been
Together We Can sets out the Government’s people’s lives. The plan helps us join up our
turned around through empowerment and
commitment to empower citizens to work initiatives across government. It enables us to
co-operation. In this introduction to Together
with public bodies to set and achieve share and review what we learn as the plan
We Can we’ve highlighted some of the
common goals. By having this shared plan of progresses, and it provides a basis on which
examples where a real difference can be
action, we can ensure the key initiatives from we can build partnerships outside
seen. We want to learn from what has been
all relevant Government departments are government to take our policies forward.
done and share the best ideas so that more
carried out so they make a real difference to
communities can benefit.
Many of the examples we use here are taken
from the experiences of statutory and
community organisations in local authority The three essential ingredients of the Together We Can way of working
areas called Civic Pioneers. These local
authorities have been working with the Home 1. Active citizens: people with the In every example and in each action point
Office since 2004, having signed up to work motivation, skills and confidence in the Together We Can plan, these three
together in a network to share their practical to speak up for their communities ingredients work together. It’s more than
experience of what works in engaging local and say what improvements individual citizens getting together to do
communities more closely and effectively in are needed good things in their communities; it’s more
designing and providing local services. than a public body trying to tackle a
2. Strengthened communities:
Other examples have been provided by other problem on its own; and it’s more than a
community groups with the capability
government departments involved in community organisation campaigning on a
and resources to bring people
Together We Can. They also cover a range of local issue.
together to work out
experience drawn from different types of shared solutions Together We Can brings the three together.
community. Each has its story to tell, but they Together they can go further, use their
have in common the guiding principle behind 3. Partnership with public bodies: public
resources more effectively and find
Together We Can – the essential involvement bodies willing and able to work as
solutions that last.
of local people in shaping the public policies partners with local people
and services that affect their communities.
6 7
How the Action Plan is structured
togetherwecan Promote
Together We Can
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d W central government

Ju l ju ng er S
stice a n d Toge
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ce system an • Local Government
alt Together We Can here,
to provide a flavour of • Business sector
its ambition and • VCS

8 9
Citizens and democracy Together we can strengthen
our democracy

We want people of all ages and backgrounds

It’s important for power and responsibility to be Southey and Owlerton Area Regeneration to feel confident and motivated enough to be
shared fairly in our society. Each new generation active in society and to have a better
should want to have its say and should be able Young people in Sheffield have been at the
understanding of how public policy and the
to, in order for our democracy to flourish. We heart of Southey and Owlerton’s governance of public institutions and services,
want to make sure children and young people regeneration strategy. The regeneration works: services such as schools, health
have their say and that they grow up to board asked them about their priorities, authorities, the police and the courts.
become confident and responsible citizens. ring-fenced funding and involved them in
the decisions. They’ve set up the North How?
Sheffield Youth Forum and young people
Together we can ensure children and Part of the answer lies in giving more people,
also take part in city-wide decisions through whether at school or as adults, the chance to
young people have their say the Children and Young People’s Area learn citizenship skills and discover how to
Parliament. They’ve run participation training take part in making the decisions that affect
How? for Sheffield Futures, Connexions, PCTs and their lives. Alongside that we’ll work to
We’re doing this by involving them more in hospital staff – and many service improve people’s understanding of political
designing the services they use; whether public organisations now have action plans to processes and encourage them to register as
services in general or services specifically for enable more young people to have their say. voters. We’re looking at ways to improve the
them, through proposals in the Youth Green recruitment of school governors, patients
Paper and the work of Children’s Trusts and Through their active involvement, young forum members, magistrates and probation
Connexions, for example. Social inclusion people have gone from being perceived as boards, and how to encourage people to stay
programmes such as Positive Futures, which part of the problem to being among those in those roles. We will work with local
uses sport to help young people learn skills who are making the solutions. The residents government to develop the relationship
and get involved in their community, will help of Southey and Owlerton have seen crime between councillors and people in their
some of the most marginalised among them come down and house prices go up – wards, and we are learning from local
take better control of their lives – and through making it a better place to live for everyone. authorities, such as those in our Civic
the recommendations of the Russell Pioneers network, to build on their success in
Commission, we can help more of them working with communities.
design the kind of volunteering activities they “It’s made me feel like I
could stand up in front of Just as with children and young people, we
would like to take part in.
10 will do more to enable older people to be
anyone. I’ve got loads of
actively involved in designing services and in
knowledge out of it”
Callum McKayle
Member of UK Youth Parliament
and director of Connexions South Yorkshire
telling us what works best for them. We will
create new ways for people to debate and regeneration and cohesion
inform important developments in areas such
as science and technology: issues about
which many people care passionately and
which have a real impact on their daily lives. Different communities can find they have we will encourage parish planning and
more in common than they realised when enable people to work with housing
they tackle a problem together. By coming associations and local authorities to build
CamdenTalks together to talk about it and decide the way affordable housing.
forward, they get a sense of collective
The London Borough of Camden has We will build on the success of the Home
strength and solidarity which they didn’t have
come up with a novel way to find out Zone Pilot and Challenge programmes which
what local people think about life in the have involved people in making
borough and about local public services – Whether they live in cities, towns or the improvements in their own streets, and we
the CamdenTalks Panel which enables a countryside, local people have a vital role to will increase people’s involvement in the
representative group of residents to play in decisions about their communities cultural elements of local regeneration
contribute their views. Members don’t and the resources they need – and an strategies. Any community needs its own
have to take part in every debate, but they equally important role in actually carrying out voice and community radio stations will be
can get involved through questionnaires, some of those services and supporting them. promoted as a good way to create direct
telephone or internet surveys, in-depth links with local listeners, in some cases even
workshops, focus groups and online getting them involved in running the station.
Together we can revitalise
discussions. With such a choice it’s hard Schools sit at the heart of many
not to get involved. communities. We are encouraging people to
And when CamdenTalks, the council listens. get involved in extended schools, where their
‘Mystery shopping’ by panel members with facilities are made much more accessible to
disabilities has led to practical changes and There are many ways in which people can everyone in the area. We will make it easier
improvements to many of the council’s become more engaged in the decisions for parents to have a say in where new
public buildings. The Safer about the quality of life in their schools are placed, and we are doing more
Camden Strategy has picked neighbourhoods. We are learning from the to help people in disadvantaged
“CamdenTalks makes a real Neighbourhood Renewal Unit’s experience of communities decide what they need in
up on the panel’s suggestions,
contribution to decision community empowerment to help more terms of education and learning
and local people’s ideas for
making in Camden. It helps us neighbourhoods tackle deprivation. In rural opportunities in their local areas. Following
the regeneration of the
understand what residents want areas where affordable housing is an issue, the success of Sure Start we will devise a
King’s Cross area are being
and make sure our decisions 13
tested out.
deliver what they need”
Dame Cllr Jane Roberts
Leader of Camden Council
template for children’s centres so that houses demolished and they had clear Togetherwe can increase
parents can be involved in the design and ideas about how to regenerate their Together we can increase community
provision of services for families. streets. The Council and residents meet cohesion and race equality
regularly now and they have created a
Communities need the right skills to enable How?
system of evaluation so the community
them to help themselves: our Guide
can say what they think about the way the In today’s world, we live in more than one
Neighbourhoods programme is already
area is developing. Then, they go further community simultaneously: the place where we
helping successful residents organisations pass
and involve local people in deciding how live, our network of family and friends, the
on their expertise to others, and the Firm
local services are going to be managed. community we share with people of the same
Foundations report’s recommendations on how
faith or cultural background, for example. The
to build the capability of communities are being
Everyone can see the difference. Crime fell challenge is to ensure that communities have a
applied to the development of new policies.
by 30 per cent between December 2003 shared sense of belonging and mutual respect
The Government wants people to have the and December 2004. Plans to demolish for each other’s diversity.
opportunity to act in their neighbourhood, but houses were torn up and residents helped
Some of the tensions between communities
without imposing a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model. remove 10.5 tonnes of rubbish in a single
arise because of misinformation and fear of the
Therefore we are developing a clear-up week, and then helped re-plant
unknown. To help counter this, we are
neighbourhoods framework, building on and landscape the tidied-up area. They encouraging local authorities to work with local
existing good practice and working through know they got it right - new residents are people to expose myths, confront racism and
councils, not around them, to offer more moving into the area and half the homes involve residents in preparing for new arrivals and
opportunities and powers for people to get that stood empty and neglected are now helping them settle into their new community.
involved in their neighbourhoods. lived in again.
Cultural activities are being promoted to bring
people together to develop a new shared
North Benwell Neighbourhood "Our emphasis has been to sense of community, for example, by sharing
Management build positive relationships stories about the history of a place or
with the community - all community and deciding what to display in
North Benwell, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the local museum. And on an individual level,
while having fun and increasing
was high on the national index of volunteer mentors from the community can
deprivation, so there was much to be their self-satisfaction from
help refugees settle into their new home area.
done. The people who lived there knew our joint successes"
what they wanted. They knew, for Christina Gates Neighbourhood Manager
example, that they didn’t want their Safer Areas for Everyone - SAFE
14 SAFE was set up after the Bradford riots in
2001 with a grant from the
Neighbourhood Renewal Fund. What
started as a local initiative to train women
in personal safety has grown to become
Safety and justice
Bradford-wide. Nearly 1,000 people have
received training in Community, Personal
Safety and Empowerment Skills: people of For some people, crime and disorder are communities and individuals to identify their
all ages, genders and ethnic groups. among the biggest concerns in their needs; public agencies that listen and respond
everyday life. When people feel unsafe in to what communities, families, victims and
In its early days, SAFE helped local women their own area, their trust in the ability of the young people tell them about anti-social
become more empowered and assertive police and the criminal justice system to behaviour; and willingness from all to share
in challenging crime on their streets. It tackle the problem can be seriously affected: responsibility for tackling the problem.
worked because the women involved even if crime figures are going down, people
were less confrontational than men might still lack confidence that anything is being We are supporting the development of
be in similar situations. done about the problems they experience Neighbourhood Watch to more parts of the
on their own doorstep. It’s vital for public country; we will make sure the involvement of
Four years later, courses are run for all agencies to work closely with the communities is part of the steps we take to
types of people, with a focus on reducing communities affected by criminal and tackle gun and Class A drug-related crime; and
the fear of crime and building people's anti-social behaviour. The public should be we will involve the voluntary and community
confidence as individuals and as members able to feel confident in the criminal justice sector’s expertise and networks more as part
of their community. People who take part system, have a better understanding of it, of our strategy to tackle drug use.
in SAFE have no more powers than any and co-operate with it as trusted partners.
other citizen, but because of their training
they know what to look out for, who to
call on and how to take action. Safer Neighbourhoods in Birmingham
Together we can build
safer communities Crime Concern took five neighbourhoods
SAFE has certainly helped in Birmingham and asked local people
"The people taking part in local women and other what should be done to prevent crime in
people overcome their fear How?
SAFE are doing it because they their areas. Then they drew up short,
want to. It's empowered of crime - but there is The key to success is building a relationship of medium and long term action plans and
another positive result: mutual trust and respect between people, involved residents in the decisions that
people and made them more
people from different their communities, the police and the other were taken following their suggestions.
aware of what they can do for communities have been public bodies involved in making our
their community." brought together and there is communities safer places to live and work. It worked because Crime Concern was
Elizabeth Hellmich SAFE Founder/Manager now a better understanding This means a police service which works with creative in the ways it reached out to
between them. 17
members of the community. Instead of The restoration of Courage Park
Together we can reduce re-offending
just talking to established resident and
and increase confidence in the The public park at Edenham Crescent in
tenant groups, they knocked on doors,
criminal justice system Reading had become a sad sight –
used surveys, brought focus groups
together and held workshops. So there vandalised, uncared for and unsafe. Thames
were many ways people could take part How? Valley Partnership’s Creating Confidence in
and have a say, including people who had People start to feel more confident in the Justice project brought together the
never taken part before. steps being taken to tackle crime and anti- borough council, the prison service, the
social behaviour when they get involved national probation service and the Inside
Some of the residents became members themselves in the decisions about them. Out Trust which works with offenders in
of the project steering group and for the The same is true for measures to reduce the community: all partners with an interest
first time they had meetings with police re-offending and bring offenders to justice. in bringing the park back to life.
and council workers at which they were Local Criminal Justice Boards are committed
treated as equal partners. Their idea was to use the restoration of
to involving local people, especially people the park as an exercise in ‘restorative
The project was set up in 2002 and from black and minority ethnic communities, justice’ – giving offenders the opportunity
they’ve achieved a lot in a short time. In and will continue to build on existing to make reparation to the community by
the first 18 months, crime in the five areas networks such as the community safety putting something back; in this case,
fell by an average of 14 per cent – partnerships. The Community Justice Centre creating a safe, pleasant park for the
compared with only 7 per cent in other pilot in Liverpool and the Salford Community community to enjoy again.
comparative parts of the city. Burglary in Justice initiative will help us learn how to
make the criminal justice system more The results went even further ‘We have made incredibly good
people’s homes fell by 41 per cent,
compared to 13 per cent across the city, responsive to local needs and apply these than the partners had hoped. contact with the local
and crime by young people fell by 29 per lessons to other areas of the country. The offenders involved in doing community. The project has
cent, compared with 12 per cent the hard work were repaired the relationship between
Victims of crime will be reassured that
elsewhere in Birmingham. rehabilitated. Anti-social
justice has been done, when they have the the council and community.’
behaviour fell and the park was
opportunity to see how offenders are Adrian Lawson
It was good value too. The city invested no longer inhabited by people
prepared to atone for their crime. And when Reading Borough Council Parks and Open Spaces
£600,000 in the Safer Neighbourhoods abusing solvents and drugs. Development Officer
offenders work, under supervision, on local
programme and by the end of its first year it Residents who were involved in
clean-up campaigns and other improvements
had saved £6,406,840 on the cost of crime. deciding how to improve the park have
to a local area, residents will have a say in the
continued to take part in regular
type of work they carry out.
community steering group meetings to put
"We sat down and talked to forward further ideas for the area.
18 19
police and housing and they
talked back to us. We were
part of the set-up."
John Clarke local resident
depression and by the mid-1990s the
health and sustainability waiting list to move out was so long that
many lost hope of ever being able to
leave. But today the waiting list is for
people wanting to move in. St Matthew’s
Science and technology bring constant individuals, to deliver change for themselves.
had turned itself around.
innovations which can improve our lives – The Choosing Health White Paper shows that
but the benefits should be available to all and this can happen, with examples like the pilot How did they do it? In the early 1990s, an
they shouldn’t create problems for future Communities for Health and the ‘healthy assessment of local people’s health needs
generations, whether in health or communities collaborative’ technique which revealed a severe mismatch between what
environmental terms. The pace of change is enable local people to identify their residents wanted and the services on offer.
rapid and the expertise it involves is highly community’s needs and then actually help to
The Tenants' Association worked alongside
specialised. This makes it all the more carry out the improvements.
the St Matthew's Area Forum, chaired by a
important for us to ensure that the people on NHS Foundation Trusts are devolving more Ward Councillor and with representatives
the receiving end of policies and services that power and responsibility for delivering NHS of local front-line services. With their help,
affect their well-being are listened to by the services to local people, and with that goes the Area Forum set up four groups
professionals and have opportunities to greater accountability to local stakeholders involving residents, so they had a direct
shape their decisions – for the benefit of us including NHS patients. There is more that say in what was decided.
all now and in the future. can be done, for example through Patient and
Public Involvement Forums which can In 1996, the St Matthews’ Project got a new
Together We Can improve our influence local health priorities, and doing home, the £1.7million Prince Philip House.
health and well-being more to involve people in deciding where to This is a multi-agency health and community
site new NHS buildings – decisions that can centre built and designed by 100 local
How? make a crucial difference to their ability to use people. It houses a police office, a drug and
the health services they need. alcohol service, health facilities, a children's
People with health problems, whether physical play area and the education centre – all the
or mental and from all types of community, things residents
are especially vulnerable, but their recovery St Matthew’s Estate said they wanted.
can be helped by a sense of empowerment –
the sense that they are able to take control of St Matthew’s Estate in Leicester had Leicestershire and Rutland Healthcare NHS
their own lives. For the public bodies become a ‘no go’ area, plagued by high Trust has moved its headquarters, its
responsible for health care the challenge is to unemployment, violence and poverty. Speech and Language Therapy Services, its
empower local communities, as well as Many of its 4,500 residents suffered from Community Dental Services and Chiropody
Services into Prince Philip House: a sure Martock’s Parish Plan
sign that it is here to stay. Medical and Together we can secure our future
social work students at the centre are Nearly 3,000 rural parishes have produced
trained to work with residents to assess their own Parish Plans in the past four
their needs, putting the patient at the How? years – plans that provide the decision
heart of the service. makers with a clear picture of what local
People care deeply about the future of our people want.
Everyone’s felt the benefits. In the past five environment, locally, nationally and globally.
years, the neighbourhood regeneration Through its Sustainable Development Strategy, The village of “Creating a plan is one
programme has helped find work for more the Government is committed to do more to Martock is just
enable local people and community groups to thing but making it happen
than 40 local people and provided others one parish that
take part in decisions to do with local planning has involved its is quite another. We have a
with computer training. It runs Sure Start,
Neighbourhood Watch and a youth and services and ensure the decisions reached community in strong team and over 100
are going to be of lasting benefit. The public creating its plan local volunteers to help
theatre. Domestic burglary on the estate
bodies involved will benefit from training, and the district
has dropped by 37 per cent. GPs talks of a – great local involvement”
information and best practice advice to help council, South
tangible improvement in people’s health – John Marshall
them work with the communities concerned – Somerset, has
and as well as feeling better, people feel Chair of m3 group (Making the Most of Martock)
the role of local people in helping to shape a helped it by
confident and empowered. Patients have
more sustainable future for their area through providing extra
even gone on to study for degrees and
local Sustainable Community Strategies, parish resources through ‘Moving Parish Projects
become social workers.
plans, neighbourhood engagement Forward’. As a result of their involvement,
opportunities and Local Development local people have acquired useful new
Documents, will be strengthened.
"Engaging the community skills and are now able to handle
The Community Action 2020 programme will substantial project funds to bring their
and letting them decide
encourage communities to save energy, plan to life.
makes our life as GPs much
recycle, play their part in tackling climate
easier in the long run change, improve local neighbourhoods, The village has seen the benefits – it has a
- and what it does for the support healthy eating and exercise and a new reception area with a skate park; the
range of other sustainable development issues. Martock Business Association was set up
community is fantastic."
and hosts a business fair in the village;
Investment is vital too – we must ensure plans are afoot for a new community
Dr Angela Lennox
there are appropriate resources to enable centre due to be completed by 2008, and
communities to be involved in economic and £167,000 of funds has been drawn into
regeneration projects, locally and regionally. the village.
Our partners people the confidence, capacity and
opportunities to exercise their power and
responsibility as citizens. The Civic Pioneers
will work with the LGA and the Government
to help inform future policy.
As well as working together across
Newcastle Civic Pioneers
government departments, we must The Government Offices for the English Regions
collaborate with partners outside Government deliver much of the action plan in the regions.
to make Together We Can a reality. Our In particular, they negotiate Local Area
partners share our desire to empower people Bradford
Leeds Agreements, manage Neighbourhood Renewal
to shape public policies and services, to Rochdale Programmes which include support for
provide the learning and skills to help them do Manchester Community Empowerment Networks, and they
Liverpool Sheffield
that, and to share good practice so that more help support effective community engagement
High Peak and
people benefit from techniques that work. Derbyshire Dales by regional and local partnerships such as Crime
and Disorder Reduction Partnerships and Local
Strategic Partnerships. Regional Development
Local government and other Agencies and other statutory bodies also play an
statutory agencies Camden important part.
Hammersmith Southwark
Local authorities have a democratic mandate & Fulham Croydon
The voluntary and community sector
to meet the needs of their local constituents, Somerset Portsmouth

and they draw together statutory agencies Plymouth

and other local partners through Local For many people, the route to having a voice
Strategic Partnerships. So they are in a unique in the decisions that affect the community is
position to enable communities to work with through getting involved in a community
each other and with local agencies to tackle group. Many community groups and
social problems. local governance and help transform the organisations exist to tackle local concerns
quality of life in their communities. and some are directly involved in providing
Since 2004, the Home Office has been services that respond to those concerns –
working with a growing network of ‘Civic The Local Government Association’s such as the management of green spaces or
Pioneer’ local authorities to capture their publication Towards Self-governing providing street wardens who contribute to
experience. They are showing us how a Communities: The Role of Local Government community safety.
consistent approach to working alongside local in Civil Renewal (LGA, 2004), sets out how
people can inspire them to take part in local authorities can do more to give local The Community Sector Coalition, which brings
24 together many of the national networks and
associations of community organisations, is
working with us and other stakeholders to help
create a national forum. This will give a diverse
Learning and research
range of community-based organisations a
strong collective voice and an opportunity to
inform the future development of the Together The Active Citizenship Centre was established the progress of initiatives led by the Home
We Can action plan: a contribution which will by the Home Office in 2003 to draw together Office’s Civil Renewal Unit including Civic
be vital to its effectiveness. research findings and case studies to inform Pioneers, Active Learning for Active
policy and good practice. Through its website, Citizenship pilots in seven parts of the country, it provides a and Guide Neighbourhoods: residents
Businesses organisations who have successfully
meeting place and a resource for policy leads,
practitioners, academics and think-tanks to improved their areas and are now sharing
People who run local businesses often feel share lessons and carry out research. their experience with others who want to
they have little influence over decisions and tackle similar problems; and the Citizen
activities that affect them. National and global Its research programme is managed by the Governance Initiative: a study on how to
business institutions, on the other hand, have University of Manchester and findings will be encourage more people to take part in
considerable power themselves and can play published at the end of 2005. It is tracking public governance.
a major role in helping individuals and small
businesses have a say in the decisions that
are made around them.
Business in the Community has over 750
member companies, including 72 of the FTSE
100, and operates through a network of more
than 100 local business-led partnerships. Its
insight into the relationship between
businesses and the communities they serve
means it is well placed to involve businesses
in Together We Can. BITC’s programme
Seeing is Believing, which enables business
leaders to see for themselves how business
can play a role in tackling Britain’s most
pressing social issues, is just one example of
how we can work together.
how will we know
it’s working?
The Together We Can action plan gives • The level of engagement with public
measures for each policy strand. Progress organisations and local affairs
will be celebrated three times a year at a
• People’s belief in their ability to influence
Together We Can conference.
The Civil Renewal Unit will also assess progress • People’s trust of local public institutions
with the help of specific tracking studies and
the Home Office Citizenship Survey. • The level of participation on public bodies
as lay members.
For example, we will assess the impact of the
Active Learning for Active Citizenship pilot We are all responsible for the success of
programme on participants’ ability to influence Together We Can. We can all, through our
decisions by public bodies. We will evaluate own policies and actions, enable citizens to
the Guide Neighbourhoods programme to work with each other and with public bodies,
assess how it helps communities to become in a spirit of mutual respect and co-operation.
stronger and more able to contribute to the
Together we can achieve the improvements
regeneration of their neighbourhoods; and we
will be working with our Civic Pioneer local we all want for our society, now and for future
authorities to measure the impact of citizen generations.
engagement in their areas. If you would like to know more about
Every two years, through the Home Office Together We Can, contact
Citizenship Survey, we will also be measuring: Dr. Henry Tam
• People’s perception of their Head, Civil Renewal Unit
neighbourhoods’ readiness to act for the Communities Group
common good Home Office
• People’s sense of safety and trust in their 2 Marsham Street
neighbourhood London SW1P 4DF

28 • The level of satisfaction with local services 29