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Localism

The AJ's bloggers track the latest developments in the plan to hand power to the people

English councils' local development plan status coverage

NPPF fallout: 52% of councils do not have local plans

More than half of English councils have failed to draw up local plans in time for the NPPF’s introduction later this month

Localism: where did it all go wrong?

It promised to give local authorities the power to write their own development plans, but now experts say it is stifling growth and confusing an already murky planning process, reports Merlin Fulcher

Eric_Pickles

Reaction: Localism Bill becomes Localism Act

The Localism Bill was given Royal Assent yesterday, opening the way for a ‘profound’ overhaul of the English planning system

Richard Rogers

Rogers hits out against ‘fundamentally flawed’ planning reform

Richard Rogers has hit out against the government’s proposed overhaul of the planning system claiming it could merge cities and ‘scar the countryside for generations’

RIBA president Angela Brady

RIBA urges architects to ‘Get local’

The RIBA has urged architects to seize the localism agenda and help communities make the most of their new planning powers

Planning

NPPF consultation lands 13,700 responses

The government has given MPs extra time to contribute to the debate over its controversial planning reforms following huge interest in the policy

Geoff Armstrong , partner at town planning practice DPP

Localism: identifying the people that matter is vital

The Localism agenda means more work and more proactivity, so getting the ‘key influencers’ on side early is critical, says Geoff Armstrong

Working Together. Delivering Growth Through Localism

The tale of two Localism Guides

Everybody wants to know what the impact of the government’s localism agenda will really be. Here are two, very different, explanatory guides

Craig Casci of Grid Architects

The answer to the housing crisis: unblocking planning

Craig Casci of Grid Architects argues that housing problems are a symptom of the broken planning system, not the lack of land or delivery

Planning inspectors told to take into account draft NPPF

The planning inspectorate has issued guidance to its officers to start viewing the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as a ‘material consideration’ in their decisions

George Osborne

Osborne and Pickles: Do not underestimate government commitment to planning reform

Chancellor George Osborne and communities secretary Eric Pickles have defended the governments’ proposed planning reforms amid fierce opposition from conservation groups

Planning minister Greg Clark

Planning minister gives 36 more councils extra planning powers

The fourth wave of councils to be given new neighbourhood planning powers has been named by the Department for Communities and Local Government

  • Press release: 85,000 troubled families have had their lives turned around

    2014-12-22T06:00:11+00:00

    The government’s Troubled Families programme has now helped turn around the lives of over 85,000 of the hardest to help households, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced today (22 December 2014).

    With over 99% of families the Prime Minister pledged to support now being actively worked with, councils have had payments-by-results made for over two-thirds of their families.

    This means that in 85,303 troubled families in England:

    • children have been back in school for a year when they were previously truant or excluded
    • youth crime and anti-social behaviour has been significantly cut across the whole family
    • or an adult in the home has moved off benefits and into work for 3 months or more

    Bristol has turned around all 1,355 of its troubled families and Nottingham has done the same with 1,200 of its. Liverpool has helped 1,987 of the 2,105 it promised to get back on track.

    The success of the programme means that a second wave of councils are now beginning work with more families ahead of schedule, and up to 40,000 additional families can begin to be helped by dedicated workers in this financial year in the highest-performing areas.

    Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

    The Troubled Families programme demonstrates exactly what our long-term economic plan means for people.

    New opportunities for families to turn their lives around and make something of themselves; more economic security for local communities blighted by worklessness; and more economic stability for taxpayers, as we reduce the bills for social failure and get this country living within its means.

    It’s a triple-win; an amazing programme; and we’re going to extend its reach as far as possible.

    Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:

    I helped establish the Troubled Families programme because improving the lives of society’s most vulnerable is one of the best ways to achieve our aim of a stronger economy and fairer society.

    I am proud that this programme is delivering real results, having helped turn around the lives of families by putting children back into school, cutting anti-social behaviour, and moving adults into work.

    It’s great news that more than 85,000 troubled families in England have seen real, tangible improvements in their lives thanks to this programme, and that 99% of eligible families are now being actively worked with.

    Head of the Troubled Families programme Louise Casey CB said:

    To have turned around the lives of over 85,000 troubled families – who have an average of 9 serious problems each – in 2 and a half years is a credit to the councils, the frontline staff and most of all to the families themselves.

    This programme works because it is joined up and it seeks to simplify things rather than make them more complicated. It focuses on whatever it takes to do what really matters: getting kids into school, the toughest families out of trouble with the police and adults into a position where they can find a job.

    Infographic

    Further information

    The Troubled Families programme applies to England only. Local authorities are paid up to £4,000 on a payment-by-results basis for turning around troubled families. The government’s £448 million 3-year budget for 2012 to 2015 is drawn from 6 Whitehall departments who all stand to benefit from the public sector working more effectively with troubled families.

    Troubled families are defined as those who:

    • are involved in youth crime or anti-social behaviour
    • have children who are excluded from school or regularly truanting
    • have an adult on out-of-work benefits
    • cost the public sector large sums in responding to their problems, an estimated average of £75,000 per year without intervention

    Turning around troubled families means:

    • getting children back into school
    • cutting youth crime and anti-social behaviour across the whole family
    • getting adults into work
    • reducing the costs to the taxpayer of tackling their problems

    See full details of the government’s payment by results framework for troubled families.

    The figures from local authorities on progress within the government’s Troubled Families programme have been collated from the latest quarterly returns submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Troubled Families team from all 152 upper tier local authorities in England in August 2014. These do not constitute official statistics.

    The Understanding Troubled Families report showed that families within the programme have an average of 9 different serious problems including health and mental health, domestic violence and debt.

    At the Spending Review last year it was announced that the Troubled Families programme would be expanded to work with up to 400,000 more families. This publication explains how that figure was calculated.

    The Budget in March 2014 announced that work with up to 40,000 of these families would begin this year in local authorities that are performing well in the current Troubled Families programme. The second wave of these early starters in the expanded programme will be:

    1. Barnsley
    2. Bedford
    3. Blackburn with Darwen
    4. Bracknell Forest
    5. Brighton and Hove
    6. Buckinghamshire
    7. Cambridgeshire
    8. Chester West and Chester
    9. Coventry
    10. Darlington
    11. Derby
    12. Dorset
    13. East Riding of Yorkshire
    14. East Sussex
    15. Essex
    16. Gloucestershire
    17. Halton
    18. Hampshire
    19. Herefordshire
    20. Kent
    21. Kingston upon Hull
    22. Kirklees
    23. Leicester City
    24. Lincolnshire
    25. London Borough of Bexley
    26. London Borough of Brent
    27. London Borough of Croydon
    28. London Borough of Enfield
    29. London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
    30. London Borough of Hounslow
    31. London Borough of Islington
    32. London Borough of Lewisham
    33. London Borough of Waltham Forest
    34. Luton
    35. North East Lincolnshire
    36. North Lincolnshire
    37. North Tyneside
    38. Northamptonshire
    39. Northumberland
    40. Nottingham City
    41. Nottinghamshire
    42. Peterborough
    43. Portsmouth
    44. Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
    45. Sandwell
    46. Sefton
    47. Shropshire
    48. Solihull
    49. Somerset
    50. Southend
    51. St Helens
    52. Staffordshire
    53. Stockton-on-Tees
    54. Suffolk
    55. Sunderland
    56. Swindon
    57. Telford and Wrekin
    58. Walsall
    59. Wiltshire
    60. Wirral
    61. Worcestershire
    62. York

    Office address and general enquiries

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    London

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  • News story: Bravery of First World War naval hero honoured

    2014-12-19T16:45:28+00:00

    Communities Minister Penny Mordaunt has spoken of her admiration for First World War hero Lieutenant Norman Holbrooke, the first submariner to receive the Victoria Cross - Britain’s highest military honour - at a special ceremony on the seafront at Southsea, Hampshire close to where he was born.

    The ceremony was held to mark the laying of a commemorative paving stone in his honour and took place 100 years to the day of Norman Holbrooke’s brave actions in the Dardanelles, North Western Turkey.

    Holbrook was a 26-year-old lieutenant in charge of HM Submarine B11. His citation for the award read:

    …For most conspicuous bravery on the 13th December 1914, when in command of the Submarine B-11, he entered the Dardanelles, and, notwithstanding the very difficult current, dived his vessel under five rows of mines and torpedoed the Turkish battleship “Messudiyeh” which was guarding the minefield.

    Lieutenant Holbrook succeeded in bringing the B-11 safely back, although assailed by gun-fire and torpedo boats, having been submerged on one occasion for nine hours.

    Speaking following the ceremony which was attended by members of the Holbrook family including his 92-year-old niece Elizabeth Holbrook, Penny Mordaunt said:

    One hundred years ago, Norman Holbrook demonstrated exceptional bravery over many hours, as the Royal Navy sought to take the fight to the Ottoman Navy and protect the Dardanelle straits.

    In charge of an aging craft, facing treacherous currents, minefields and gunfire, it’s testimony to the dangers they successfully overcame that each member of the crew was decorated. They were all heroes in their own right and we owe them a great debt of gratitude.

    Holbrook’s actions captured the public imagination throughout the British Empire and he featured prominently on commemorative memorabilia including on cigarette cards. A small town in New South Wales, Australia even changed its name to ‘Holbrook’ in his honour.

    Norman Holbrooke left the submarine service in 1918 and the Royal Navy in 1920. He was promoted to the rank of Commander on retired honours in 1928 at the age of 51 he served with the Admiralty in the Second World War.

    He died and was buried in Stedham, West Sussex, in July 1976.

    Memorial VC paving stone

    Earlier this year Norman Holbrooke’s grave at St James Old Churchyard, Stedham, West Sussex was restored through the department’s funding of the ‘Honour Our VC Heroes’ campaign launched by The Sun newspaper, in association with the Victoria Cross Trust.

    The project aims to restore all of these graves in need of repair. Headstones are being cleaned or replaced so that the final resting place of those who received the highest military award for valour is a truly fitting tribute to their sacrifice.

    This August saw the start of the nationwide campaign to honour those who received the Victoria Cross during the First World War. Over the next 4 years on a date corresponding or close to when they were awarded the VC, commemorative paving stones will be laid in their place of birth or where they lived following the war.

    469 stones will be laid in communities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The programme will also see 35 VC recipients commemorated in the Republic of Ireland. 145 stones will be laid in the National Memorial Arboretum to commemorate those born overseas.

    Further information

    Follow the laying of the commemorative stones on Twitter #VCpavingstones, and on Pinterest.

    See the dates of upcoming paving stone laying ceremonies.

    The decision about the site of each stone has been taken by the relevant local authority. Guidelines to local authorities encouraged them to site the stones in a location that would have had resonance with the VC recipient, such as outside a house that they lived in or near their old school. Most importantly, the stones should be part of the community and sited in a position where they will be visible to members of the public.

    A public competition was held to choose a design for the paving stones and this was judged by a panel of 7 experts. The competition was won by Charlie MacKeith from London whose winning design will feature on all the paving stones that will be laid in communities across the country. The circular design seeks to ‘make one pause and remember’ and uses the material, form and lettering of the family of memorials used by the War Graves Commission.

    The paving stones are made of Scoutmoor Yorkstone a hard-wearing British stone that is quarried near Ramsbottom. Each stone will include the name of the individual, the rank and regiment of the individual (at the time the VC was awarded) and the date of the action for which the VC was awarded.

    The Victoria Cross Trust is a charitable organisation that works to ensure the graves of every Victoria Cross recipient are maintained. They fundraise to generate income to subsidise the grave upkeep and preservation.

    For more information about this project and how it will run please contact the Victoria Cross Trust.

  • Press release: New guide will better connect our new homes to vital services

    2014-12-19T16:05:31+00:00

    The new practical guide is a significant step in speeding up the process of getting new developments connected to gas, water and electricity, as part of push to help hardworking people get into their new homes sooner.

    It will also drive up performance of utilities companies across the board by providing a clear set of standards and making it crystal clear how developers and companies should be working together to make sure more developments are completed on time and on budget.

    The move is one of the latest in the government’s long term economic plan to get Britain building and get people into the new homes that they have worked hard for.

    Better connected new homes

    Today’s (19 December 2014) guide will, for the first time, offer a clear code of practice setting out how utility companies and developers should work together when building a new housing development.

    This includes ensuring that:

    • the developer works with utilities companies even before planning permission is granted to ensure the existing network has the capacity to supply the new homes

    • developers get quotes from electricity, gas and water companies as well as broadband and telephone service providers, which should be offered within a set period of time

    • a set schedule is put in place clearly stating the time it will take to complete the work to connect new homes to these utilities – and that both developers and utility companies stick to it

    Today’s guide also sets clear performance standards for electricity, gas and water companies, as well as telephone and broadband providers.

    It offers the first step towards speeding up the process by which new developments are connected to mains services.

    Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said:

    We’ve got the country building again, with planning permission granted on 240,000 homes in the last year alone.

    “But if we want this to continue new developments must be connected to the key utilities more quickly.

    So I’m pleased to see the developers and utility companies working together towards this, and today’s practical guide is the first step to speeding up this process, with clear standards set for both sides to follow.

    Dave Mitchell, Technical Director at the Home Builders Federation said:

    HBF welcomes the better connected publication from DCLG and its recognition of the importance of efficient, customer focused utilities provision for future housing supply.

    Housebuilders are keen to work with government and the utility industry and to play our part in ensuring processes are in place that enable utility providers to install the necessary connections in new homes for when our customers need them.

    Brian Berry, Chief Executive at the Federation of Master Builders said:

    The installation of utilities connections is not always as harmonious a process as it should be. This is the cause of significant delays in development and is the source of frustration and friction between providers and developers. Improving this situation requires not just smart regulation, but also greater clarity, transparency and improved communication between all parties. This guide is a helpful contribution to this, setting out clearly what is expected of all parties involved.

    Pamela Taylor, Water UK Chief Executive, said:

    It is absolutely vital that all the relevant sectors and industries pull together to deliver the government’s programme for the essential homebuilding that we so urgently need.

    The water industry is fully committed to removing the barriers so development can happen faster and better.

    The standards we have set in the better connected guide show exactly how the water and sewerage industry is committed to improving infrastructure delivery and to ensuring that connection times and costs are reduced.

    Maxine Frerk, Senior Partner (Smarter Grids and Governance) at Ofgem, said:

    We recognise how important it is that developers connect to gas and electricity in a speedy and timely manner and we’ve implemented a number of measures to help achieve this. We welcome the steps that government has taken to assist developers in understanding the process to get connected.

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  • Statement to Parliament: Integration: update

    2014-12-18T16:05:21+00:00

    I would like to update hon. Members on the work of my department on integration. We are committed to confronting and challenging extremism in all its forms, tackling the violence and hatred that seeks to create division. We are championing what unites our country across class, colour and creed, and we are standing up for and supporting British values.

    Our broad approach is laid out in the government’s integration strategy, published in February 2012.

    Integration projects

    As of December 2014, current integration projects and activities include:

    • Advocacy Project

    Action to provide a platform for young people to share positive stories about integration. 60 young people are being trained as journalists and will produce at least 120 stories and 2 million opportunities to view by end of June 2015.

    • Anne Frank Trust UK

    Funding will enable the Trust to deliver their programme to 35,000 young people in London and the West Midlands by July 2015 to challenge prejudice and reduce hatred, encouraging people to embrace positive attitudes, responsibility and respect for others.

    • Arts Council - Arts in the Community

    Work will engage 5 areas around England (Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Burnley and potentially Thurrock) to improve their art/cultural provision to increase participation by bringing in more people through more activities. Project match funded with Arts Council England and local authorities.

    • Arts Council - Enterprise Libraries

    Supporting library projects in 16 locations to develop business and intellectual property centres across the country. Project match funded with Arts Council England and the British Library.

    • Asian Cuisine

    The project supports a scholarship scheme at the University of West London, and raises the profile of the sector through the Mastara Chef campaign. Our aim is that young people from different backgrounds will view the Asian cuisine industry as offering exciting and rewarding careers, increasing opportunities for social mobility and underlining the important place which Asian cuisine occupies in modern Britain.

    • Cornish Language

    Support to Cornish Language Partnership for the development and promotion of the Cornish Language.

    • English language - match funding for European Integration Fund funded projects

    Department for Communities and Local Government match-funded 3 community-based English language projects supported by the European Integration Fund to teach English and integration skills in Slough, Tower Hamlets and Bradford.

    • English Language community-based programme

    Support for 6 projects providing community-based English language tuition to 24,000 isolated people in selected target areas.

    • Enterprise Challenge – Sheffield

    Extension of Enterprise Challenge to include engagement with and integration of Roma.

    • Extremism Task Force

    Expanding a suite of integration projects into key areas identified by the Extremism Task Force.

    • Female genital mutilation and honour based violence (including forced marriage): Community-led projects

    Funding 15 community projects across the country to deliver community engagement work to prevent female genital mutilation and other forms of honour-based violence, including forced marriage.

    • Female Genital Mutilation / Forced Marriage Champions Network

    Funding 3 organisations to recruit Community Champions to lead a local response to raising awareness of and tackling female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

    • Flying the flag

    Ongoing support for championing the flying of local and national flags, and working with the Flag Institute to encourage more local communities to create their own local flags.

    • Holocaust Commission

    A Commission of Inquiry to investigate how best to commemorate and teach future generations about the Holocaust.

    • Holocaust Memorial Day

    Funding the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust to deliver the UK’s annual commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day and to support its work with schools and local communities throughout the year to raise awareness and deliver local events.

    • INFORM

    Supporting an independent charity providing information that is as up-to-date and reliable as possible about cults and unconventional movements.

    • Integration through Sport

    DCLG contribution to Sport England’s Community Sport Activation Fund to support integration-focused sport projects.

    • Inter Faith Network

    A charity that links up and resources local and national inter faith bodies and faith umbrella bodies and runs the annual inter faith week activities.

    • National Community Tensions Team

    DCLG contribution to the team which carries out a national assessment of community tension on a weekly basis and provides a resource on the impact of public order, counter terrorism and other extremist activity on communities.

    • Near Neighbours

    Campaign bringing together diverse faith communities in local neighbourhoods through grants to local projects and programmes of training for clergy, youth leaders and community activists.

    • Opening Doors

    Opening Doors partnership comprising Black Training and Enterprise Group, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Asian Business Initiative and PJ’s Community Services to establish an enterprise development programme to train young unemployed and socially disadvantaged people in Haringey, Brent and Croydon to be entrepreneurs.

    • Our Big Gig

    Delivery of a national mass-participation musical event from 11 to 13 July, together with targeted activity in selected areas over a longer period, with the aim of bringing diverse communities together and encouraging local participation in music on a sustained basis.

    • Post-Holocaust Issues envoy

    To support the work of the Post-Holocaust Issues envoy to represent the UK in international fora on restitution and addressing anti-semitism.

    • Post Office Community Enterprise Fund

    Enhancing the role of post offices as community hubs and providers of other services, such as support for small businesses, by running a joint competition to identify and support 25 innovative community-led schemes.

    • Remembering Srebrenica

    Programme of activities to raise awareness of the Srebrenica genocide, to teach the consequences of hatred and intolerance through visits to Bosnia, commemoration events around 11 July, and education packs.

    • Schools Linking Network

    Unlocking Talent and Potential scheme to bring together pupils from different backgrounds, provide them with business mentors and work experience opportunities, and enable the most committed pupils to go on to establish new enterprises.

    • Social media workshops

    Four social media workshops were held in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. We worked in conjunction with Home Office Research Information and Communication Unit and Breakthrough Media. The aim was to improve the social media capacity of community organisations in each area in promoting positive narratives and case studies.

    • The Big Iftar

    Creating a mass movement through a diverse set of Iftar activities during Ramadan in mosques, synagogues, other places of worship and community centres around the country for Muslim communities to come together to share Iftar with their non-Muslim neighbours, highlighting the commonalities between communities, rather than the differences.

    • Together in Service

    A 2-year programme of faith-based social action building on the success of A Year of Service (2012). Every month the social action of a different faith community is celebrated and new multi-faith projects encouraged. The project is supported by the Together in Service Fellowship of willing volunteers and a small grants fund to kick-start new inter faith projects.

    • World War One battlefields visits

    Support to enable 2 children and 1 teacher from every English state- aided school to visit World War One battlefields - joint with the Department for Education.

    • World War One - Last Post campaign

    Encouraging communities to engage and come together through local music events, which include playing the ‘Last Post’ on any instrument.

    • World War One - Remember World War One

    Online resource for communities, which includes libraries and local historical societies, to work with local areas to identify First World War stories and artefacts.

    • World War One - Show and Tell

    A mass initiative to engage individuals, groups and communities in England to volunteer 100 minutes of their time to World War One related activity.

    • World War One - VC grave

    Grave restoration campaign to restore the graves of World War One recipients who are buried in the UK but not under the care of the Restoration Project Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

    • World War One - Victoria Cross Paving Stones

    Project to commemorate World War One Victoria Cross recipients with a paving stone across the country at their birth place or at the National Memorial Arboretum (Staffordshire) for overseas-born Victoria Cross recipients.

    • World War One - Woking Peace Garden

    A project which will use the Woking Peace Garden as a focal point for World War One commemoration events and educational visits, events and activities to raise awareness of the contribution of Commonwealth servicemen to World War One.

    • Youth United

    The project aims to create opportunities for 10,800 young people in 400 newly established units run by 2,700 volunteers.

    Examples of projects and activities we have previously supported

    (it is not a comprehensive list of every single integration activity or programme)

    • A Year of Service

    A series of volunteering events, held by 9 different faith communities in turn throughout the year in 2012 linked to festivals or special days to encourage themed social action, such as feeding the poor or improving the local environment.

    • Auschwitz Birkenau Foundation Perpetuity Fund

    Contribution to ensure the ongoing restoration and preservation of Auschwitz- Birkenau.

    • Bad Arolsen Archive Wiener Library

    Funded the Wiener Library to get a copy of the International Tracing Service Archive to help UK citizens trace what happened to their relatives during Nazi persecution across Europe.

    • Caste Prejudice

    DCLG and Government Equalities Office jointly provided grant in 2012 to 2013 and 2013 to 2014 on assessing prejudice on the basis of caste amongst Hindus and Sikhs.

    • Contextualising Islam

    Report representing the conclusions of around 40 Muslim scholars, academics and other participants who took part in the project’s symposia to discuss and consider what it means to be a Muslim living in modern Britain.

    • Enterprise Business Connectors

    Project run by Business in the Community to help small businesses in Haringey, Salford, Tower Hamlets, Nottingham, Liverpool and Bristol to survive and to grow, and be able to provide local employment, goods and services in some of the most disadvantaged communities through support from large businesses. Secondees from large businesses to be placed in these areas to act as “Business Connectors” to facilitate interactions.

    • Enterprise Challenge

    A national competition run by Mosaic, part of the Prince’s Trust, that aims to inspire knowledge and enthusiasm about business amongst young people. School teams are supported by specialist business mentors to compete through an online business game. The project was match funded with Apax Foundation.

    • English Language training

    Funding additional English language provision for learners with no, or extremely poor, levels of spoken English, who are not in or actively seeking employment, and who are unable to afford course fees.

    • Faith through a Lens

    As part of A Year of Service we teamed up with an existing National Photo competition – Faith through a Lens – to have a special category on A Year of Service to both celebrate and act as a record of the volunteering activities undertaken.

    • Faith-based Regeneration Network

    Grant to support faith-based organisations with a focus on community development, regeneration and social action.

    • Foreign Translation

    Issuing guidance to councils to discourage the translation of documents into foreign languages, to help encourage English language learning and strengthen integration of those who do not speak English into mainstream British society.

    • Future for Youth

    Match-funding to the Future for Youth Foundation to run a pathfinder project in Salford to support young people to move into employment, training or education.

    • Gurkha Fund

    Funding to help address the resource pressures on Rushmoor borough council and support other councils with large numbers of retired Gurkhas to manage the integration of retired veterans and their families.

    • Industrial Cadets

    To enthuse secondary age pupils (13 to 14) about the possibility of a career in industry (engineering, manufacturing, etc.). Pupils to undertake an 8-week course with a local industrial firm, learning about the sector and the career options it offers.

    • Inter-Faith week

    Support to Inter-faith Youth Trust to deliver a wide range of projects and activities focused on engaging young people from different faiths and encouraging faith based social action.

    • Jewish Museum

    Funded the Jewish Museum work with 12 schools in the London area to improve understanding of the Jewish Way of Life and to address casual anti-semitism in schools.

    • National Citizens Service - Young Advisers

    Project to deliver Young Advisors training to between 150 and 200 young people in 2011 to 2012 and up to a further 375 to 500 in 2012 to 2013.

    • National Special Interest Group on the English Defence League

    Blackburn- and Luton-led national Special Interest Group to share best practice between councils and other partners in countering English Defence League activity.

    • Operation Black Vote

    One off transitional funding to enable the organisation to develop a sustainable business model

    • Searchlight Education Trust - English Defence League project

    Volunteer-led community groups organising local news-sheets and community events to generate positive local identities in 4 areas vulnerable to English Defence League activity.

    • Show Racism The Red Card - English Defence League project

    Workshops for young people aged 11 to 18 to help them reject the narratives of groups like the English Defence League.

    • Society of editors – addressing online hate crime

    A moderation guide for user generated content.

    • Supporting town hall prayers

    Encouraging councils to use their general power of competence under the Localism Act to hold prayers at the start of council meetings if they wish.

    • Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti Muslim Attacks)

    Initial start-up grant during 2011 to 2013 to help establish reporting mechanisms and a system that offers advice and support to victims of anti-Muslim attacks and hatred.

    • The Big Jubilee Lunch

    DCLG funding enabled the Eden Project to provide targeted support to 20 hard to reach areas where there had been little or no participation in the Big Lunch to date in the run up to The Big Jubilee Lunch in 2012 and The Big Lunch 2013.

    • The Jubilee Hour

    DCLG support for a campaign to encourage people to volunteer for 60 minutes in recognition of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Aim to encourage community involvement and to engender long-term volunteering activity.

    • True Vision - Cross Government Hate Crime Programme

    Support for the on-line hate crime reporting portal, which includes on-line reporting of hate crime on the internet and best practice.

    • World War One: Curzon Institute

    This project sought through a series of lectures, films and educational materials to inform communities of the role of Commonwealth Nations in securing allied victory in the First World War.

    Roadshows and infographics

    This year, ministers have also led a series of roadshows to engage directly with the public to inform them about our integration projects and cross government work to tackling extremism and hate crime. To accompany these roadshows DCLG produced infographics summarising our broader integration work (rather than just funding projects). These include projects led by other government departments.

    Further work

    We continue to implement the actions of the Extremism Task Force and are currently working with the Home Office, who are leading on the government’s new Extremism Strategy. We will also shortly be publishing a comprehensive report on the government’s work on tackling anti- semitism.

    Community Rights and Big Society

    Our work on integration is also complemented by our Big Society and Community Rights programmes. The table below shows the organisations which are funded by my Department as part of our Big Society and Community Rights programmes in the current financial year. Some provide direct support and grants to community groups who wish to exercise their community rights or take control of decisions, services or assets in their areas; other projects are delivered through contracts with external suppliers.

    Big Society and Community Rights projects Group
    Community Ownership and Management of Assets Programme Locality (contract)
    Community Right to Challenge Programme Social Investment Business (contract)
    Delivering Differently 10 contracts – each supporting a separate local authority, working with councils to sort delivery via voluntary sector, mutual and social enterprise
    Our Place support (including support for ‘emerging potential’ areas and parish councils) Locality (contract)
    Our Place implementation evaluation Castle Vale - holding funding on behalf of the Balsall Heath Forum
    Support for new parish councils National Association of Local Councils; County Associations of Local Councils
    Quality Councils Scheme National Association of Local Councils
    Certificate in Local Council Administration Qualification Society of Local Council Clerks
    Sustainable Communities Act (funding for selector) Local Government Association and National Association of Local Councils
    Community Shares Unit Co-Operatives UK
    The Co-operatives Advice Line Plunkett Foundation
    Diversification of community pubs projects Pub is the Hub
    Just Act (supporting community projects) Community Development Foundation
    Nottingham North Rebalancing Project Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service
    Localism Alliance - work to encourage take of community rights in 8 deprived areas in England Civic Voice, Campaign for Real Ale, Supporters Direct and Theatres Trust - Civic Voice will hold the grant on behalf of the other members

    Spending

    Over the 2011 to 2015 Spending Review period, DCLG was initially expected to spend £43 million on supporting integration projects; since 2010 we have already spent £45 million, and the current estimates are that we will be close to £50 million by March 2015.

    Estimated expenditure (£m) 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
    Integration 11.0 14.2 12.8 11.9

    This spending is in addition to £150 million that has been allocated by the Home Office for the revised Prevent programme since 2011.

    The Home Office refocused the Prevent strategy in 2011 to ensure that resources were better targeted. Prevent funding reflects the reassessed priorities following the 2011 Prevent review. Resources are prioritised according to the risk to national security.

    But spending money wisely is more important than the quantity of funding. The last Administration’s Prevent strategy was widely criticised and discredited, not least in using councils to “spy” on Muslim communities in a completely counter-productive way; failing to keep track of how taxpayers’ money was spent; insufficient checks on funding going to extremist groups; and confusing work on cohesion with counter-terrorism.

    In contrast to the last Administration, we have moved away from supporting separate communities’ identities (‘single group funding’) as it undermines integration. We promote British values including equality of all before the law and a belief in democracy. We will not fund or engage with groups which promote violent or non-violent extremism.

    Termination of funding

    In addition to the projects listed above, as an action which stemmed from the Extremism Task Force, my department initiated the Faith Minorities in Action Project – designed to encourage integration by promoting inter-faith work, the role of women in faith, tackling youth crime, and also to provide child protection training. The Muslim Charities Forum was awarded this contract.

    However, following a formal review of the project, which included examination of allegations made in the press, and of the organisation’s continued poor performance in delivering against agreed objectives, I have taken the decision to terminate its funding. The Muslim Charities Forum has failed to reassure us that they have robust measures in place to investigate and challenge their members. Concerns have also been raised about events held by member organisations, at which individuals with extremist views have been invited to speak. This has undermined their work and means they are no longer able to deliver on the Faith Minorities in Action objectives.

    We are determined that faith institutions should have the support they require to carry out their vital work. Faith institutions play a key role in communities. They provide support and moral leadership and a sense of community all around the country. Well-run collaborative faith institutions can provide a bulwark against extremism by providing a local source of identity, a place to temper views through discussion, and a first point of call for concerns individuals may have. We will shortly launch a new call for applications from organisations able to work in collaboration with faith groups and to deliver effective support.

    Similarly, my department has asked Faith Action, who deliver English language training to facilitate social integration, to cease their funding of Islamic Help as part of their project. This decision stems from Islamic Help’s recent invitation to an individual with extremist views to speak at one of their events.

    I hope this action illustrates our resolve to cease funding any organisation that supports or is linked to individuals who fuel hatred, division and violence. We will fund only those programmes and organisations that actively encourage integration and uphold fundamental British values.

  • Statement to Parliament: Sustainable drainage systems

    2014-12-18T15:07:48+00:00

    As part of the government’s continuing commitment to protect people and property from flood risk, my department (Department for Communities and Local Government) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs recently consulted on a proposal to make better use of the planning system to secure sustainable drainage systems. Today (18 December 2014) we are publishing our response to the consultation explaining how we will be strengthening existing planning policy. This will make clear that the government’s expectation is that sustainable drainage systems will be provided in new developments wherever this is appropriate.

    To this effect, we expect local planning policies and decisions on planning applications relating to major development - developments of 10 dwellings or more; or equivalent non-residential or mixed development (as set out in Article 2(1) of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010) - to ensure that sustainable drainage systems for the management of run-off are put in place, unless demonstrated to be inappropriate.

    Under these arrangements, in considering planning applications, local planning authorities should consult the relevant lead local flood authority on the management of surface water; satisfy themselves that the proposed minimum standards of operation are appropriate and ensure through the use of planning conditions or planning obligations that there are clear arrangements in place for ongoing maintenance over the lifetime of the development. The sustainable drainage system should be designed to ensure that the maintenance and operation requirements are economically proportionate.

    To protect the public whilst avoiding excessive burdens on business, this policy will apply to all developments of 10 homes or more and to major commercial development. The government will keep this under review, and consider the need to make adjustments where necessary. The current requirement in national policy that all new developments in areas at risk of flooding should give priority to the use of sustainable drainage systems will continue to apply.

    These changes will take effect from 6 April 2015. For avoidance of doubt this statement should be read in conjunction with the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework. This statement should be taken into account in the preparation of local and neighbourhood plans, and may be a material consideration in planning decisions.

    To support local authorities in implementing these changes, we will publish revised planning guidance in time for the policy changes to take effect, and engage with local government on a capacity building programme.

    My department will today begin consulting on a proposal to make lead local flood authorities a statutory consultee on planning applications for surface water management; and makes changes to the statutory consultee role of the Environment Agency to better reflect the Agency’s strategic expertise and reflect the new responsibilities for local flood management exercised by lead local flood authorities.

  • Press release: Council Tax freeze and sensible savings ‘will deliver fairer deal for hardworking families’

    2014-12-18T13:27:08+00:00

    Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins today (18 December 2014) called on town halls to take up the offer of extra government funding to freeze Council Tax for hardworking families for a fifth successive year as he published the provisional local government finance settlement for 2015 to 2016.

    Since 2010, the government has worked with councils to freeze Council Tax. This campaign has brought average bills in England down by 11% in real terms. This is worth the equivalent of £1,075 to the average Band D taxpayer and compares to a period between 1997 and 2010 when bills more than doubled.

    Ministers have also empowered local residents with the right to a referendum should any council propose to hike bills above a national threshold, which will remain at 2%.

    Challenging the sector to deliver a fairer deal for hardworking families, the minister was clear sensible savings must be made to keep Council Tax down and protect frontline services.

    As set out in the Autumn Statement, this government is putting the country’s finances back on track and substantial savings to public spending will be needed. As local government is expected to spend more than £114 billion this year – around a quarter of all public spending – it must play its part in reducing the inherited deficit.

    Alongside the settlement, ministers have published a new independent study outlining the scope for how councils can make hundreds of millions of pounds of sensible savings. This report includes examples of how councils have made sensible savings through better policies, new technology, collaborating with each other, taking early action and working with the private and charitable sectors.

    Some of the top town hall savings include the outsourcing of customer services in Barnet, which guarantees the council savings of £125.4 million over a decade, Kirklees saving £20 million through a ‘one council’ approach where human resources and business support services were brought together and the number of senior managers reduced and how Sheffield saved £1.5 million by bringing services into the digital era and shifting housing benefit claims online.

    Mr Hopkins said:

    Every bit of the public sector needs to do their bit to pay off deficit left by the last Administration, including local government which accounts for a quarter of all public spending. This government will continue to deliver a fair settlement to every part of the country, as part of our long-term economic plan.

    We have been working to give hard-working people greater financial security by taking action to keep Council Tax down. There is extra money on the table for all councils which pledge to freeze Council Tax bills next year and we would urge them to take it to help their residents with the cost of living.

    The local government settlement is fair to all parts of the country – north and south, rural and urban, city and shire – therefore every council should be able to deliver sensible savings while protecting frontline services for local taxpayers.

    The settlement once again leaves councils with considerable spending power and rewards those that prioritise housing and growth.

    However, those facing the highest demand for services continue to receive substantially more funding. For example, Middlesbrough has a spending power per household of £2,441 which is £871 more than the £1,570 per household in Windsor and Maidenhead.

    Today’s fair funding deal arms councils with a significant average spending power of £2,083 per household. The average spending power reduction for councils in 2015 to 2016 is just 1.8%.

    Taking into account the additional transformation money the government is giving councils to improve services this reduction falls to 1.6%.

    This government is committed to rural areas, which is demonstrated by the way our fair settlements have helped to close the urban-rural gap in spending power. This year ministers will provide an additional £15.5 million to support the most rural authorities to recognise the challenges they may face in delivering services.

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