LONDON COMMUNITIES COMMISSION: EBULLETIN PART ONE
Since we last wrote to you in late August there have been a number of important developments in the London Communities Commission’s work. This bulletin brings you up to date and invites you to become involved.
By way of context, at its last meeting the Commission agreed its Mission statement:
To improve the lives, and life chances, of those in economic or social need in London’s most stressed communities – and to help those communities thrive. The London Communities Commission wants to achieve this in a fresh way – one that builds on existing best practice, that is community-led, ensures greater local control over the allocation and use of resources and includes the direct involvement of local people and community organisations in the delivery of change to their areas. This approach specifically aims to challenge and change the sense of powerlessness currently experienced by many communities.
Unlike most Commissions, which produce recommendations for others to execute, the LCC is continuing to work on some of the key issues, before handing on to others. Our past work has led us to understand that, in this age of austerity, a major new approach is needed to support stressed communities. The question is – what form should this initiative take?
Our findings have led us to four simple but far-reaching conclusions.
1. Not all issues can realistically be addressed at once. The Commission believes that a targeted approach, focussing (in the first instance) on a limited number of the most stressed areas in London is the best approach. We call these areas Community Action Neighbourhoods (CANs) and we propose that 15 such areas across the city should be targeted initially.
2. Similarly, not all issues within those areas can be tackled at once. Our evidence shows, time and again, that local communities know best what is most urgent and important to them. We conclude that local communities should themselves therefore decide on their priorities – assisted, we believe, by community Anchor Organisations.
3. Our evidence has also led us to understand that communities lie at the heart of solutions, not of problems.Therefore we conclude that communities should lead on delivery, by agreeing programmes to address their priorities (through cross-sector Joint Action Teams involving private, public and community interests) and, wherever possible, they should directly implement projects themselves.
4. Finally, it is obvious from our findings that all of this will only be possible if there is a significant new resource to fund relevant programmes in the Community Action Neighbourhoods as well as to release local leadership, social entrepreneurism and sustainability. We believe that there is a key role here for the corporate sector – and our research shows that the sector is ready to welcome a new and strategic approach to social responsibility.
The Commission has developed its thinking on each of these four conclusions, as set out briefly below. We are asking for feedback, and further involvement in developing the next phases.
1. Priority Community Action Neighbourhoods -CANs
Earlier in the summer the Commission asked the GLA to help us to define London’s most stressed areas on the basis of four selected criteria: (bullets)
- Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015
- Numbers of Housing Benefit claimants (Feb 2017)
- Age UK Loneliness Index (derived from 2011 Census)
- Numbers of Pension Credit claimants (Nov 2016)
At its last meeting the Commission felt that the inclusion of two measures relating to older people was inappropriate and we agreed to ask the GLA to substitute one of those measures (the Loneliness Index) with one relating to Children in Low Income Families (2014). This has now been done (independently by the GLA Intelligence Unit) and the results are shown on the attached map. It is proposed that the first 15 CANs will be based on the areas shown in orange and red on the accompanying map. The precise boundaries will be drawn up on the basis of local knowledge and on further consultation.
We would welcome your comments on this draft list. Others to be consulted include London Councils, the Boroughs concerned, local CVS, Locality, Deputy Mayor for Communities (and officers), Big Lottery, NCVO, Others?
2. Anchor organisations are key
Our Mission statement emphasises the need for the community and voluntary sector to be at the heart of change in their areas. The key to delivering on this is through the establishment of an Anchor Organisation in each of the CANs. These could be an existing organisation that has the trust of local people, it could be a consortium of existing organisations that come together and agree a “first amongst equals” from their membership, or it could be that a new organisation would have to be built – accepting that this takes time. In order to help this process we agreed a “job description” for such Anchor Organisations. This is attached and, again, any comments on this would be very welcome. We are talking to Big Local and Locality about their experience in similar initiatives.
3. Strategic priorities and Joint Action Boards
The Commission discussed the thorny issue of what priorities should be addressed in the programme overall. The issue of what priorities should be set “top-down”and what should be agreed “bottom-up” has bedevilled programmes around community development and action for decades. Whilst there is no definitive “right” answer for all circumstances, we believe that a two-pronged approach will work best in the case of Community Action Neighbourhoods. In essence, the proposal is for the Commission (and its successor body, see below) to define four “over-arching” strategic priorities for the programme as a whole. They should be couched in general terms, allowing for local flexibility in interpretation whilst ensuring overall strategic coherence.
Based on evidence collected and further consultation within the sector as well as preliminary discussions with the Deputy Mayor, and accepting that the programme cannot deliver major investment in housing, transport or social care infrastructure (but will need to engage in decision-making locally in these fields), the four strategic priorities are:
- tackling poverty, including access to meaningful work,
- improving health,
- tackling discrimination and promoting integration (incorporating isolation and social inclusion),
- promoting greater local control over decision-making and implementation.
Within each of these priorities there will be a focus on the particular needs of young people. There will also be a fifth, but locally determined, priority – to address priority unmet local needs where they fall outside the four strategic priorities.
The concept is that within each CAN about 20% of annual programme money should be spent on each of the four strategic priorities – allowing for pragmatic flexibility – and the remaining 20% would be allocated by the Joint Action Team (JAT) to local priorities that fell outside the four strategic priorities. The JAT would be a representative cross-sector Team, chaired by the Anchor Organisation, who would also be the Accountable Body for finance and governance purposes. Within programme-design for each of the strategic priorities in their CAN, the JAT would invite projects to deliver on the four strategic priorities and agree those that best met their objectives. The programmes would be independently monitored and outcomes reported to the Commission’s successor body – the Trust, see Next Steps below. Whilst the detail will need further consideration, we are asking for comments at this stage on the basic approach, which we believe resolves the need for strategic coherence alongside local flexibility and accountability.
4. Resources and the proposed role of the corporate sector
The Commission is well aware that the ambitious approach outlined above will not be achievable without considerable new resources. The longstanding problems in these Neighbourhoods will not simply disappear overnight. Equally, we do not believe that merely throwing money at the problems is the answer.
One of the most interesting findings from the evidence put to the Commission was that the corporate sector told us they were keen to refresh and expand their role in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility – but only if there was some strategic coherence to what they were being asked to do, together with appropriate accountability and monitoring processes. The Commission has started to explore a fresh and ambitious approach with the corporate sector.
Little further progress can be made on other issues (1 to 3 above) – other than the informal consultation proposed in this Bulletin – until this resourcing issue is resolved. Otherwise false expectations may be raised.
In general terms the financial model is expected to involve the creation of an endowed Trust and the Commission is exploring:
- How resources might be transferred into such a Trust
- What form such a Trust might take
- The Trustee membership
- Accountability, including the principles set out above.
We hope to report back on progress early in the New Year in a further Bulletin. In the meantime we look forward to hearing your views on the proposals for Community Action Neighbourhoods, Anchor Organisations and Strategic Priorities
LCC November 2017
THE WAY AHEAD: CIVIL SOCIETY AT THE HEART OF LONDON: http://londonfunders.org.uk/what-we-do/london-funders-projects/review-londons-civil-society-support/way-ahead-civil-society
The Way Ahead: Civil Society at the Heart of London is the final report of the Review of the Future of Civil Society Support in London published in April 2016. This review ran in parallel to the work of the London Communities Commission and the London Poverty Commission whose final report is also posted on this website. The final report follows on from The Change Ahead, published in December 2015, which set out research and analysis carried out in stage 1 of the Review. It proposes a new vision and system for civil society and how it should be supported in future.
The final report’s vision complements the work of the LCC. It’s vision states that ‘Communities should be enabled to find and deliver their own solutions where possible’ and ‘Communities, civil society support and funders should act as catalysts for action and also identify emerging needs.’
It has four key recommendations for action which mirror recommendations in the LCC draft recommendations that have been published.
• Investigate ways to fund transition to the proposed system, and to ensure civil society support is funded (London Councils, independent funders, providers of statutory funding and London Funders)
• Investigate how to adapt the commissioning of civil society support to ensure the consistency proposed in our recommendations (London Councils, commissioners of public services and London Funders)
• Engage businesses with this Review (Heart of the City)
• Prototype the proposed system in selected areas to develop the practical detail and an evidence base to encourage universal roll out of the proposed system,
The following seven reports have been useful in developing our thoughts and recommendations. Although some are now 3 years old they remain relevant.
1. A Vision for Young Londoners, May 2015
‘Young people in London are
25% of the population
but 100% of its future’
Download the report by London Funders, London Youth and Partnership for Young London
2. Tackling the Housing Crisis: Oct 2014
alternatives to declining standards, displacement and dispossession
Download the report by Professor Marjorie Mayo and Ines Newman. Marjorie is spoke at the Summit, and Ines is helping to write up the recommendations.
3. People, Planet, Power: Feb 2015
Download the New Economics Foundation‘s proposals for a new social settlement.The new social settlement has three goals: social justice, environmental sustainability, and a more equal distribution of power. All three are intertwined and must be pursued together. We were delighted that NEF spoke at the Community Summit.
4. Whose Society? Jan2015
Download the Final Big Society Audit, produced by Civil Exchange
5. Local Early Action: How to Make it Happen: November 2015
http://www.neweconomics.org/publications/entry/local-early-action-how-to-make-it-happen In 2014 Southwark and Lambeth Councils set up the Southwark and Lambeth Early Action Commission to reduce demand for acute services and maintain wellbeing for all residents. The final report is written by NEF.
6. Changing London – A Rough Guide for the Next Mayor edited by David Robinson and Will Horwitz
This book is a compilation of the radical but practical suggestions of the people of London. The book argues that the capital needs a leader who can inform public opinion and articulate an ethical argument. A mayor who will listen to and speak up for those whose voices are seldom heard and little understood.
7. Community Capital: The Value of Connected Communities: Oct 2015
This report by the RSA argues that social relationships have a value. The activities and research presented in this report demonstrate that through working with communities this value can be grown by connecting people to one another in their local areas. The RSA argue that investing in interventions which build and strengthen networks of social relationships will generate four kinds of social value or ‘dividend’ shared by people in the community:
1. A wellbeing dividend.
2. A citizenship dividend.
3. A capacity dividend.
4. An economic dividend.
In 1929, former Prime Minister David Lloyd George made a pledge to the nation: “We can conquer unemployment. We mobilised for war. Let us mobilise for prosperity.”
In 2016, it is time we made a new pledge – we can conquer poverty.
Poverty in the UK is real, costly and harmful, affecting millions of people. We can do something about it if we choose to. JRF’s comprehensive, long-term strategy shows how governments, businesses, communities and citizens can all mobilise for a sustainable prosperity; for a UK free from poverty.
Download the full report here uk poverty causes costs and solutions
We challenge the next Mayor to take action on inequality. Support our campaign by signing our petition below:
We challenge the next Mayor to take action on inequality. Support our campaign by signing our petition and send the message below to the candidates:
I call on you, as a candidate for the office of Mayor of London, to sign up to five steps for a fairer London.
“If Londoners elect me as Mayor I commit to immediate and long-term action to narrow the gaps between rich and poor, as a central and continuous priority for my administration, and to take five steps to a fairer London.
As Mayor of London I will:
- put fairness and equity at the heart of my programme to tackle London’s housing crisis
- make fair pay and fair incomes central to my plans for London’s economy
- put fairness between generations, and between our communities at the centre of long-term planning for London
- ensure that all my policies are judged to help narrow the gap between rich and poor, so that all Londoners feel part of our city.
- set up a standing Fairness Commission to assess and monitor the impacts of regional and national inequality
Help us persuade the candidates to sign up to five steps for a fairer London. Cut and paste the message above and email them at:
Sadiq Khan, Labour, firstname.lastname@example.org
Zac Goldsmith, Conservative email@example.com
Sian Berry, Green, firstname.lastname@example.org
Caroline Pidgeon, Lib Dem, email@example.com
Our Manifesto for the Mayor of London:
Five steps for a fairer London Download here
Step One: Housing – put fairness and equity at the heart of efforts to tackle London’s housing crisis:
– intervene to tackle the broken property market, where only the very rich can afford to buy, where even young professionals are stuck paying extortionate rents, while new flats are kept empty by their investor owners.
– Bring down rents to truly affordable levels, so families don’t have to give over half their income to the landlord, and where taxpayers money is poured into the pockets of private landlords through Housing Benefit.
– Invest in new council homes for rent at prices that are truly affordable so that council homes are no longer only homes of last resort for the poorest.
– Make sure that new developments always contain a mix of properties so that people from all backgrounds can live together in the same neighbourhoods, making London once again a shared, open and honest city.
Step Two: Fair pay and fair incomes:
– launch a Fair Pay mark for employers to encourage all businesses to publish salary levels and reward those who achieve a ratio of ten to one between their highest and lowest earner.
– ensure that all Mayoral organisations introduce pay ratios and move towards becoming ten to one employers.
– re-double efforts to eradicate low pay, building on the London Living Wage
Step Three: A fair future for the next generation
– Lobby central government for fairer taxes so that everyone has a more equal start in life & taxes redistribute wealth from the top downwards
– Make sure that where you live, your race, gender or disability doesn’t unfairly limit your life chances
– Allocate more investment to help young people – reduce the cost of education, create real, paid apprenticeships, challenge un-paid internships
– challenge the super-rich, global corporations and the top of the financial services sector to stop taking grossly unfair rewards and recognize that businesses suffer, society suffers and our city is diminished by gross inequality
Step Four: Equity in all policies – we are all Londoners
– make sure transport and planning policies work to reinforce fairness and do all they can to narrow health, opportunity and income gaps – for example give young people free travel for their first six months of employment
– make sure London-wide education programmes target resources at the most disadvantaged, but involve all young people
Step Five: Shine a spotlight on fairness and inequality
-establish a standing, city-wide, representative fairness commission, to monitor changes over time, highlight areas of concern, identify new and better responses and celebrate the successes of Londoners, as together ,we make the city a fairer place.
Inequality is tearing at London’s social fabric. We need a Mayor who understands that money is power and that it needs to be shared out more equally.
We know that inequality is bad for us and bad for our city. This manifesto sets out five steps for the next Mayor of London to begin the task of turning London from a global capital of inequality to a global capital of equity and fairness.
We call on the next Mayor of London to sign up to five steps for a fairer London.
The London Fairness Commission has today published it’s Final Report, following the first inquiry into ‘fairness’ in the capital for 125 years. The release of the Final Report is will be marked by an event at the Deck of the National Theatre and will include a ‘job interview’ for candidates for Mayor of London.
The London Fairness Commission report considers a ‘ticking time bomb’ – how London’s future success will be undermined if current problems are not resolved – and presents recommendations, including ones relating to the cost of living and housing.
Chair of the London Fairness Commission, Lord Victor Adebowale commented:
‘London’s future success is at risk if we do not address the cost of living for modern day Londoners – costs, such as housing, transport and childcare, are higher in London. Londoners on average salaries spend nearly half their pay on rent, compared with a quarter for those on average salaries outside the Capital. While Londoners do earn more on average, that extra sum goes nowhere near bridging gap. There is now a danger that London will become a playground for the super-rich, a treadmill for the middle-classes and a workhouse for the poor.’
London is a global city, yet compared to other cities of its standing the cost of living in London is high. Londoners on average salaries spend 49% of their pay on rent, compared with 26% for those on average salaries outside the capital. The average extra costs for householders who are renting and using childcare is £6,000. Would-be homeowners in London need to earn £77,000 a year to get on the housing ladder. Across the UK, a first-time buyer needs a minimum income of £41,000.
The London Fairness Commission’s recommendations include:
- Immediate introduction of a London minimum wage of £9.70
- The Mayor should delay issuing the Freedom Pass from 60 to 65 years and means test it
- Action to make employers help more with childcare costs
- Public disclosure of pay ratio data from companies and public sector bodies based in London
- Ensure that companies registered offshore declare details of property ownership
- The Mayor of London to be given powers of compulsory purchase on land/properties owned by offshore companies who are unwilling to declare the name of the ultimate beneficial owner
- Suspension of right to buy for five years while supply is increased and provide a portable discount for those who have lived in social housing for 15 years
- Reduce or control the average cost of letting agents’ fees and charges
Set ‘affordable rents’ to 30% of household income rather than 80% of market rent
- Tax land owners in London with planning permission for new homes who refuse to develop their land for longer than 3 years.
The London Fairness Commission would also like to see the start of a new ‘philanthropic age’ and believes that the time is ripe for London’s wealthiest residents and businesses to come together in an exemplary social philanthropic effort – a ‘Peabody’ moment for the 21st Century.
This is the first time in 125 years – since Charles Booth mapped the levels of wealth and poverty across London in 1889, coining the phrase ‘the poverty line’ in the process – that a special commission has analysed the ‘fairness’ of London.