If local government embodies representative democracy, Big Local areas are bastions of participative democracy, championing the cause for a ‘flatter’ society. Both have their strengths and weaknesses and both have a role to play in the running of local life; but in order for communities to thrive, a balance must be struck between the two.
Weaving together remarkable stories from Big Local areas, David Boyle paints a picture of what healthy local democracy can look like. When the scales of local power are levelled to give local institutions the space, respect and support they need to get things done on their own terms, we see the budding signs of communities regenerating.
Before, we were a bit of an anomaly to local politicians, but now they are beginning to believe in us. It is about building relationships over a period of time… Democracy begins with ourselves realising we have some power over our own lives.