Whose Community Is It Anyway?
People keep being creative and dynamic - but government struggles to recognise or support real local innovation.
For 50 years disabled people and people with mental health problems have been developing smart, low-cost and high quality systems of peer support in order to help each other be full and active citizens. Slowly government has started to accept the importance of these systems; but when it tries to support these initiatives it often kills them.
When government 'commissions' community services it often squeezes out the elements that had made them valuable: smallness, flexibility, low bureaucracy and local leadership. Instead it demands that the community mimic the behaviour of bureaucracies or large corporations; it doesn't pay attention to all the free support and commitment which these local community organisations bring.
In Whose Community Is It Anyway? Dr Simon Duffy, working with local community groups in Doncaster, explores the tensions that exist between genuine community development and government-run commissioning. In particular the report suggests that the failure to implement personal budgets effectively - not shifting control directly into the hands of disabled people - has discouraged the development of good community solutions.
Community is not owned by government. Government exists to serve community.
Read the full report here: http://bit.ly/whosecommunity