Government pilots will allow communities to commission services

Communities will play a key role in deciding how public money is spent in their local authorities by 2012, if a draft strategy is implemented.

The strategy sets out how “community kitties”, a scheme used in Brazil, will help communities decide which services should be commissioned to meet local needs.

The scheme, known as participatory budgeting, is being piloted by 22 local authorities and if successful will inform a forthcoming white paper on empowering communities.

Under the draft strategy, published for consultation yesterday by local government and communities secretary Hazel Blears, communities will access cash pot “kitties” to tackle antisocial behaviour or commission community health services.

Blears said: “Local people that use services day in day out know how they need to be improve. Community kitties don’t just lead to better services, they give local people the opportunity to influence the future of the place where they live, generate civic pride and bring our communities together with a common purpose.”

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