Thursday 12 March 2015, 10.30 – 16.00, Barnsley, South Yorkshire
The Scottish referendum has put devolution firmly back on the national political agenda. Should neighbourhood activists and managers be rejoicing?
The renewed interest in devolution across the United Kingdom is partly because of the promises that Westminster politicians made to the Scottish people in order to secure a ‘No’ vote, and the expectations that they have raised of similar deals with the other areas. But it is also a reflection of the stellar levels of engagement that the referendum achieved. With election turnout in general decline, and distrust of politicians growing, the 85% turnout was both a boost for advocates of greater devolution and a challenge to those who say that disengagement with politics is an unstoppable trend. In reality the Scottish referendum was not the start of the debate about greater regional devolution. Greater Manchester and Sheffield City Region have both recently agreed devolution deals with the national government, and other City regions are seeking to take on similar devolved powers.
But what will this sort of devolution mean for neighbourhoods? Will it reinvigorate arguments for ‘double-devolution’ and neighbourhood power? Or could it end up diverting attention away from community empowerment?
These are the sorts of questions we intend to explore in the latest NANM share and learn event, on 12 March.
We are delighted to be holding this event in Barnsley where the approach of the council is placing it firmly at the heart of the devolution debate.
Content and approach
Councillor Sir Stephen Houghton, Leader of Barnsley Council, has agreed to start discussions off by explaining how Barnsley is radically devolving real spending power beyond the Tower Hall to community level. Councillor Houghton also chairs the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority which has secured one of the Government’s recent devolution funding deals.
During the rest of the day there will be a variety of opportunities to discuss issues with a range of other contributors, each of whom is a champion for devolution in a different way. Most of these discussions will be in smaller parallel sessions.
The confirmed list of contributors includes:
- Councillor Sir Stephen Houghton, Leader of Barnsley MBC and Chair of Sheffield City Region Combined Authority
- Kate Faulkes, South Area Council Manager, Barnsley MBC
- Michaela Howell, Service Development Manager, Bradford Trident
- Michael Dixon, Chair of Airedale Neighbourhood Management Board, Wakefield
- Big Local partnerships, Lottery-funded groups based in Yorkshire working towards community-led change
As with all NANM events, a major focus of the day is the opportunity it provides to mix with, get to know and share experience with other colleagues. So the programme includes a mix of plenary presentations, smaller group discussions and time to network.
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Who should attend?
In short anyone who is interested in neighbourhoods and devolution. We hope that it will attract a mix of practitioners and policy makers, people working at a local level as well as people working at the national and regional levels. If it piques your interest it is for you.
What does it cost?
The event is free to attend, although we are asking for a voluntary contribution towards catering and logistics (the guide is £10). If payment is a problem do not let it put you off. The contribution is a genuinely voluntary one. If you are already a paid up member of NANM simply choose the ticket for NANM members.
How to book your place
There is an Eventbrite page for this event. This is the easiest way for us to take bookings. You will be offered the opportunity to make a voluntary contribution towards refreshments and logistics (and get 2 year NANM membership) as part of the booking process. Payment can be online using a credit card and PayPal or in cash at the event.
[This event is now in the past, but we have left the the Eventbtrite page up in case it is still of interest.]