Opening up local democracy beyond the formal realm
in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
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The New Localism has been fostered and encouraged by central government as part of its strategy to reinvigorate local democracy and boost civic engagement and empowerment. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Conservative governments promoted public participation in relation to the delivery and shaping of local public services. This chapter looks at the democratic developments beyond the formal realm of elections, political parties and local political institutions. It presents the analysis of three local initiatives beyond the ballot, namely citizens' panels, local referenda and participatory budgeting. The chapter focuses on the growing trend towards neighbourhood governance at the local level over the last decade, and the town and parish councils. It considers the potential of utilising technology such as high-speed community broadband, in enhancing civic engagement, building communities and developing social capital. The chapter also presents the examination of what one could term the new forms of democracy.

Local democracy, civic engagement and community

From New Labour to the Big Society

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