Local Decision Making
In this thinkpiece for the Commission on Integration and Cohesion we discuss the challenges posed by ethnic diversity to renewing local governance structures and improving participation of all groups in our democratic processes at neighbourhood, local and regional levels. All major political parties have expressed their concern at the disengagement of citizens from politics, the decline in ‘neighbourliness’, and the importance of making public services responsive to the needs of citizens. Re-defining local decision-making structures is reliant on understanding the identities of citizens and their understandings of community and engaging with these identities to reformulate the state. If cohesion and integration are to be meaningful, the democratic spaces through which contact occurs and collective decisions made need to be relevant, accessible and robust.