Think Tanks


25 May 2010 08:03:13

Direct Democracy identifies a mix of decentralisation and centralisation in Queen's Speech

DdlogoThe Direct Democracy group - established by Tory parliamentarians Douglas Carswell and Dan Hannan - has welcomed the moves towards 'people power' that are widely expected to be announced in today's Queen's Speech:

  • Directly elected police commissioners by local communities.
  • Devolution of powers to local councils and communities. Yesterday the Chancellor announced that most ringfencing of central-to-local government funding would be lifted.
  • A Great Repeal Bill for repealing burdensome and costly regulation.
  • Citizen’s initiatives in order to put forth both local and state referendums.

DD also listed six other initiatives that they hope to see the Coalition deliver in future:

  • A referendum on Britain's membership of the EU (as promised in the Liberal Democrat manifesto).
  • The power of recalling ethically questionable MPs should be triggered by local voters rather than - as the Coalition proposes - a group of politicians in SW1.
  • Similarly the power to initiate open primary elections in 'safe seats' should be in the hands of constituents. The Coalition risks giving the power to party machines.
  • The Great Repeal Bill should - wiki-style - include the ideas of the population.
  • Greater use of referenda so that voters decide more of the great issues of the day.
  • Future Queen's speeches should include People's Bills that would emerge from popular votes.

12 Nov 2009 11:46:00

A more accountable local police force

Policy Exchange

"Partners in Crime - Democratic Accountability and the Future of Local Policing"(PDF)

Authors: Ian Barnes, Max Chambers and Natalie Evans (Editor)

Publication date: 12 November 2009

This report contains several recommendations to create a more dynamic and accountable local police force. The authors acknowledge that while there have been a recent emphasis on neighbourhood policy from the Labour Government, the Home Office still continues to micromanage the police force. The report calls for directly elected police commissioners and allowing Chief Constables to be operationally independent from the Home Secretary to allow them to make more decisions at a local level. The report also calls for ineffective Police Authorities to be replaced with local Police Commissions.

2 Nov 2009 16:32:00

Reforming the criminal justice system


"Order in the Court - restoring trust through local justice" (PDF)

Authors: Centre for Social Justice Courts and Sentencing Working Group chaired by Martin Howe QC

Publication date: 2 November 2009

This report makes a series of recommendations on the reform of magistrates' courts, the probabation service and prisons. It also addresses issues central to the criminal justice system such as sentencing and the rights of victims. In addition the report looks into the treatment of criminals with addictions and mental health problems. The authors suggest a series of proposals to make the criminal justice system fairer and to enable local people to have more say in the process.

31 Oct 2009 18:36:00

"Civic companies" to run public services


"The Ownership State - Restoring excellence, innovation and ethos to the public services"(PDF)

Author: Philip Blond

Publication date: October 2009

The report acknowledges that public services in Britain are not performing as they should with a real terms funding increase of 55% over the last ten years but a fall in productivity of 3.4% over the same period. The report calls for radical action with social enterprises in the guise of "civic companies" being allowed to replace the State as providers of these services. The civic companies will be managed and owned by front-line workers and will provide an alternative to both the public sector and the conventional private sector.

22 Oct 2009 15:24:00

Localism in local government


"One Tier or Two? - A debate about the right scale for local government" (PDF)

Authors: Tom Shakespeare (Editor), Matthew Groves, Kevin Lavery and Roger Gough

Publication date: 22 October 2009

The authors advocate a localist agenda for local government which allows councils to be free from central government intereference, regulation and funding. The paper supports devolving many functions of central government down to councils and increasingly the accountability of local government.

7 Oct 2009 15:51:00

Delivering a localist agenda


"Can Localism Deliver? Lessons from Manchester" (PDF)

Authors: Susana Forjan, Tom Shakespeare and James Morris (Editor). Foreword by Lord Heseltine.

Publication date: 7 October 2009

This report which was published during the Conservative Party Conference contains several recommendations for advancing a localist agenda. These include the abolition of Regional Development Agencies with their power devolved to local government and re-localising business rates in order to give councils more financial autonomy.

16 Jul 2009 16:35:00

Policies to make local government greener


"Giving the Green Light - Policy Ideas for a Model Environmentally Sustainable Council"(PDF)

Author: Tom Shakespeare

Publication date: 16 July 2009

The report details a series of environmental proposals for councils to adopt. These include investing in green transport, encouraging the development of eco business parks and enshrining eco-budgeting into the council's budgeting process.

11 Jul 2009 12:09:00

Devolving democracy to the people


"A New Great Reform Act" (PDF)

Author: Antony Jay

Publication date: 11 July 2009

This report calls for constitutional changes to bring power closer to the public and to challenge the power of bureaucratic central government.

7 Jul 2009 13:10:00

The failure of big government


"The reality gap - An analysis of the failure of big government" (PDF)

Author: Jill Kirby and others

Publication date: 7 July 2009

The report claims in a variety of policy areas, from the banking crisis to the tragic death of Baby Peter, more government regulation has failed to improve outcomes and has often been more of a hindrance than a help. Big government has also failed to engender more public support for politicians and if anything has had the opposite effect.

30 Mar 2009 13:36:00

Creating a Police Force to be reckoned with


"A Force to be Reckoned With - A Police Report by the Police Reform Working Group"(PDF)

Authors: The Centre for Social Justice Police Reform Working Group, chaired by Ray Mallon.

Publication date: 30 March 2009

This report looks at reforming Britain's police force in order to create a safer, more law-abiding nation. Key recommendations include setting up Interventionist Neighbourhood Teams with a commitment to intervene in instances of disorder, elected Crime and Justice Commissioners for each Police Force area and a greater emphasis on restorative justice and victim's rights.