Lambeth Council handing power to residents as part of new cooperative approach


The initiative is designed to shift power to the people.


By David Horsfall

Lambeth residents are being urged to take part in decision making processes across the borough, as part of a unique council initiative. 

The so called cooperative approach means that the council will do things with local people rather than to them, leading to greater efficiency and better services.  

Over 1500 people have signed up for Young Lambeth Cooperative, meaning the community rather than councillors will take control of the council’s youth clubs, adventure playgrounds and one o’clock clubs, as well as a budget of several millions pounds for services.

Other services such as libraries, housing and services for older people are already in the hands of residents.

It is hoped that the innovative approach will help save money at a time when the council’s formula grant is being cut by 45% between 2010/17, a cut of £95.4 million in cash terms.

Many are frustrated that one of the most deprived boroughs in the capital is facing such deep cuts – in 2011/12 Lambeth had a 7.7% cut in its spending power compared to more affluent boroughs like Windsor and Richmond which faced cuts of 1% or less.

Chris Blake, of Lambeth Save Our Services, said the council should primarily ‘fight the cuts, not market them’.

Photo courtesy of Mahlum via wikicommons, with thanks. 

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