A seat at the table? The changing context for community development

Michael Pitchford and Paul Henderson

in Making spaces for community development

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9781847422590
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302759 | DOI:
A seat at the table? The changing context for community development

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When New Labour came to power in 1997, its commitment was to build strong communities. In their third term, they talked of putting power and resources in the hands of the ‘law-abiding majority’. During this period, there were more resources than ever for community-level activities and communities were positioned to have a central role in decision making within their neighbourhoods. It was a time characterised by the devolution from central government to local government and from local government to citizens and communities. It is also a period marked by the increasing engagement of citizens, which is becoming a statutory duty, and it is also a period marked by the need to involve those who are ‘hard-to-reach’. This chapter discusses some of the key shifts in terms of the landscape of community development. In particular, it looks at the change from a confrontational approach to the model of partnership working which predominates in all areas of regeneration and urban renewal. Today, participation in the partnerships has brought with it a greater recognition of the potential role of community development in achieving policy objectives. Thus the community development workforce has grown substantially. Practitioners are now required to be more accountable for how they carry out their roles, although their accountability is upwards to the funders or authorities rather than to the communities in questions.

Keywords: New Labour; decision making; local government; engagement; key shifts; confrontational approach; partnership working; regeneration; urban renewal

Chapter.  4860 words. 

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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