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Hugh Atkinson

6 Local services, community and civic engagement Introduction In Chapter 6 the focus is on local services and their impact on strengthening civic engagement and local communities. First, there will be a focus on central government policy. There will be an analysis of some initiatives of the last Labour government as well as an initial assessment of the emerging policy agenda of the current Conservative/ Liberal Democrat coalition. Local public service reform will also be looked at in the context of the role of markets and the increasing emphasis on the choice

in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
From New Labour to the Big Society
Author: Hugh Atkinson

There is a widespread view that local democracy in Britain is in deep trouble and that people face a crisis of civic engagement and political participation. This book counterweighs the many negative accounts that seek to dominate the political discourse with talks on political apathy and selfish individualism. It commences with an examination of theoretical debates as to the meaning of local democracy and related concepts. The book looks at the policy agenda around local democracy in the context of the developing nature of central/local relations since 1979. It considers the available evidence on level of political participation and civic engagement by looking at eight themes. These include the state of formal politics, forms of civic engagement, community identity and the emerging world of the internet/world wide web. The book also looks at nine key aspects of the reform of local democracy over the last fifteen years, including local democracy and the New Labour reform agenda; the constitutional position of local government; and double devolution. It focuses on the so-called 'crisis of formal democracy' at the local level. The book ascertains the recent developments beyond the realm of elections, political parties and formal political institutions. It then concentrates on local services and policy attempts to widen public participation in the shaping and delivery of such services. Finally, the book discusses the concept of sustainability and regeneration strategies to build sustainable communities, both physical and social.

Matthew Hunt, Sharon O’Brien, Patrick Cadwell, and Dónal P. O’Mathúna

information with partners, coordination groups and other relevant actors ( Sphere Association, 2018 : 71). Conducting training for local service providers and providing documentation in local languages are also recommended. Numerous groups are engaged in projects to increase the quality and reach of crisis translation. For interpreting (the spoken act of translation), the InZone project demands recognition. 2 InZone has pioneered innovative approaches to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Abstract only
Hugh Atkinson

local civic engagement and political participation. This was to be welcomed. And yet the suspicion remained that this was part of an agenda to ‘hollow out’ the role of local government in favour of a rather disparate notion of community empowerment. This is not to deny the crucial importance of community activity. Indeed, I have noted in this book countless examples of community organisations, social enterprises and individuals making a real difference to the shaping of local services and a major contribution to local democracy. Such activity is essential to the

in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
Abstract only
Hugh Atkinson

institutions. These include citizen panels, neighbourhood governance arrangements and the use of referenda. The effectiveness, or otherwise, of such measures in boosting civic engagement will be analysed. Chapter 6 focuses on local services and policy attempts to widen public participation in the shaping and delivery of such services. Finally, Chapter 7 looks at the concept of sustainability and regeneration strategies to build sustainable communities, both physical and social. Within this, there is an also an analysis of local strategies to combat climate change. The last

in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
Abstract only
Colin Copus

citizenry. The local council provides the main institutional setting for this process, with political parties and community or local action groups providing associated theatres for political interaction. Second, there is a complex set of institutional arrangements driven by managerial and technocratic concerns and aimed at the provision of important public services, services which, while needing to respond to local priorities and concerns, must meet national standards and considerations. Local government is the means by which the provision of local services is brought

in Leading the localities
Remembering the Ulster Special Constabulary at the National Memorial Arboretum
L. J. Armstrong

In 2006, two acts of commemoration took place to the memory of the Ulster Special Constabulary (USC). One was staged in a public site of national commemoration at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Lichfield, Staffordshire and the other was a very local service in the remote site of Mullaghfad Church, Co.Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Both of these events were state-funded under the terms of the ‘Victims and Survivors Befriending Grant Scheme’, but engaged in very different modes of remembrance. This chapter focuses on the USC memorial at the NMA as a strategic site of memory for the Ulster unionist community. Drawing upon interviews with members of the Ulster Special Constabulary Association (USCA) present at the commemoration, it explores the active role Britain plays as a physical and symbolic site of ‘respite’ for Ulster unionists. In contrast to the private, divisive nature of memorials to the USC in Northern Ireland, the NMA site enables the USCA to locate its role in the Troubles in terms of British heroism and sacrifice, alongside memorials to other UK police units. The chapter suggests that historians should look more closely at the active role Britain plays in commemorating the Northern Irish Troubles.

in The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain
Hugh Atkinson

projects. In the 1980s and 1990s, successive Conservative governments promoted public participation in relation to the delivery and shaping of local public services. This took various forms. Customer satisfaction surveys were increasingly used to gauge the public view on the quality of public services. There were also attempts to bring the public into the domain of local service management. In education, local school governing bodies (with representatives from the local community including parents) were given more power. In health, patients were given more influence over

in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
Abstract only
Private greed, political negligence and housing policy after Grenfell

As the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017 has slowly revealed a shadowy background of outsourcing and deregulation, and a council turning a blind eye to health and safety concerns, many questions need answers. Stuart Hodkinson has those answers. Safe as Houses weaves together Stuart’s research over the last decade with residents’ groups in council regeneration projects across London to provide the first comprehensive account of how Grenfell happened and how it could easily have happened in multiple locations across the country. It draws on examples of unsafe housing either refurbished or built by private companies under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to show both the terrible human consequences of outsourcing and deregulation and how the PFI has enabled developers, banks and investors to profiteer from highly lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts. The book also provides shocking testimonies of how councils and other public bodies have continuously sided with their private partners, doing everything in their power to ignore, deflect and even silence those who speak out. The book concludes that the only way to end the era of unsafe regeneration and housing provision is to end the disastrous regime of self-regulation. This means strengthening safety laws, creating new enforcement agencies independent of government and industry, and replacing PFI and similar models of outsourcing with a new model of public housing that treats the provision of shelter as ‘a social service’ democratically accountable to its residents.

Open Access (free)
Theatre and the politics of engagement
Author: Simon Parry

This book is about science in theatre and performance. It explores how theatre and performance engage with emerging scientific themes from artificial intelligence to genetics and climate change. The book covers a wide range of performance forms from the spectacle of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony to Broadway musicals, from experimental contemporary performance and opera to educational theatre, Somali poetic drama and grime videos. It features work by pioneering companies including Gob Squad, Headlong Theatre and Theatre of Debate as well as offering fresh analysis of global blockbusters such as Wicked and Urinetown. The book offers detailed description and analysis of theatre and performance practices as well as broader commentary on the politics of theatre as public engagement with science. It documents important examples of collaborative practice with extended discussion of the Theatre of Debate process developed by Y Touring theatre company, exploration of bilingual theatre-making in East London and an account of how grime MCs and dermatologists ended up making a film together in Birmingham. The interdisciplinary approach draws on contemporary research in theatre and performance studies in combination with key ideas from science studies. It shows how theatre can offer important perspectives on what the philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has called ‘cosmopolitics’. The book argues that theatre can flatten knowledge hierarchies and hold together different ways of knowing.