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As part of our call for government policy to refocus on neighbourhoods, Local Trust is arguing for reformed neighbourhood governance mechanisms as a necessary building block for community-led regeneration.

In 2021, we asked community activists from Big Local areas to tell us about the issues that are most important to them, to inform our policy work. There was consensus that the main issue was how difficult it is for communities, particularly those in the most disadvantaged or ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods to take action to improve where they live.

In response, we decided to examine the community or neighbourhood governance system. We concluded that there is currently a two-tier system. The areas that would most benefit from effective parish and town councils and neighbourhood forums – in which residents most need a voice and access to resources to improve their areas – tend to lack them for a range of reasons.

In September 2022, we held a discussion for experts in St George’s House, Windsor on the topic. Out of this discussion emerged the idea for a manifesto, which was published in September 2023.

To further deepen analysis of relevant issues and develop concrete policy proposals, we have commissioned a research report from IPPR North which will be launched in 2024.