The New Deal for Communities is revolutionary in itself – and its
wider importance cannot be underestimated. In fact, it is essential
if existing universal or targeted services are to succeed, after
labouring for too long against a backdrop of complex and
intractable problems, following decades of neglect, prejudice and
But while some problems will be common to many areas, one blueprint
can’t solve them all. The NDC holds great promise precisely because
it is community-led and structured to respond to local needs.
Typically, the government has recognised that local flexibility is
essential, yet hasn’t had the confidence to maintain that
flexibility when it comes to monitoring.
The NDC schemes could be a vital step towards the strategic aim of
re-engaging local communities with all services. For that to work,
they need time for inexperienced individuals to grow in new roles,
before being rushed into multi-million pound decisions, then
threatened by government if the decisions go wrong.