The Guardian, Nov. 1st 2010, p. 1
Windsor and Maidenhead council, one of the four local authorities selected by the government to lead the 'big society' initiative, is set to pioneer 'big society reward points' redeemable in supermarkets, high street shops and restaurants in return for good deeds. The council hopes to join forces with commercial reward schemes such as Nectar - whose points can be redeemed at Sainsburys', Homebase and Argos.
Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal, vol. 4, 2010, p. 158-167
Despite a plethora of strategic, locally focused regeneration initiatives introduced by UK governments over the past 20 years, many neighbourhoods continue to experience high levels of social exclusion and deprivation. The development of Local Area Agreements since 2000 has been regarded as pivotal to the delivery of tailored support to distressed areas. In essence they now represent the overarching performance management framework for delivering urban regeneration in a particular area. As three-year agreements between local areas and central government, they are the key vehicle for the delivery of national outcomes at a local level. This paper argues that LAAs' management by targets approach, where localities are obliged to select, negotiate and implement a relatively small number of centrally driven indicators and outcomes in order to improve performance, may not be fully conducive to addressing variations in levels of deprivation.
Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal, vol. 4, 2010, p. 135-146
This paper takes a practitioner's perspective on the transfer and development of participatory budgeting processes from their Latin American roots in the late 1980s to becoming part of the local regeneration and empowerment policies championed by New Labour in the UK. It describes some of the reasons for this transfer of ideas, and the models of participatory budgeting with which English local authorities are experimenting. Participatory budgeting is seen as an innovative mechanism for increasing citizen participation in local democratic decision-making and one effective in strengthening civil society at the local level.
The Guardian, Nov. 29th 2010, p. 18
Poverty and gross inequality are six times more likely to cause British people to be suspicious of their neighbours, a landmark academic paper by researchers at Southampton University has found. The study used a government survey of 25,000 individuals in 4,000 neighbourhoods and found no evidence that levels of trust and co-operation were highest in homogeneous neighbourhoods.