The manifesto was developed by Centre for London in partnership with ftwork and collaborating and building on the work of Collective Community Action. It is based on input from an advisory group, expert interviews, and a literature and case studies review. Our advisory group included people from community groups, local government, architectural practices, developers and academia.
1. Demonstrate leadership and champion democracy
How: Publish a draft Mayoral Statement of Community Involvement that builds on the strong ideas in the current London Plan and is itself subject to the exemplary public involvement that it embodies, and establish Mayoral Community Advocates who can support public involvement at every stage of the process.
Why: Having a say in how our areas look, feel and operate is a democratic right, and must be upheld even more so for people who currently feel cut off from decision making. There are excellent intentions in the London Plan, but they must be given proper weight, and more work is needed to put them into action.
2. Fund and build skills
How: Provide funds for a multidisciplinary training programme for local authority officers, councillors and community champions to ensure they work effectively with local people to develop and enhance plans. Establish support funds for community organisations alongside the resourcing of local authorities.
Why: Effective, collaborative engagement that is consistent across all of London requires time and resources. It’s hard for local authorities to do this with their current funding and staffing.
3. Establish a knowledge base
How: Commit to regularly reviewed and updated place-based audits and engagement processes that value and understand what already exists. These should be carried out with local people so there is local knowledge and experience at their core.
Why: Local people, organisations and businesses understand the richness and potential of their areas. Their knowledge provides a valuable baseline for positive change: engagement should build on this existing knowledge rather than trying to recreate it.
4. Create incentives
How: Develop and launch an accreditation scheme for London local planning authorities and developers that sets standards and recognises and rewards good public and community engagement, similar to the Good Work Standard.
Why: Establishing benchmarks with what good public and community engagement in planning looks like promotes best practice, provides an incentive for developers to deliver – and fund – good community engagement and supports long-term stewardship.
5. Provide scrutiny
How: Setup a scorecard to help London’s councillors assess the quality of community engagement in applications presented to them at planning committees.
Why: Rebuilding trust between communities, local authorities and developers requires greater openness. Supporting good and transparent decision making is an important part of this.