Community elections for regeneration partnerships : a new deal for local democracy?

Shaw, Keith and Davidson, Gill (2002) Community elections for regeneration partnerships : a new deal for local democracy? Local Government Studies, 28 (2). pp. 1-15. ISSN 0300-3930

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The health of local democracy in the UK is being undermined by the very low turnouts in local government elections. As the recent government pilot schemes for changing the conduct of local elections have recognised, there is an urgent need to get people more involved at the local level, to reconnect voters with the local political system and to help reduce the level of cynicism towards local government. However, there is one area of local electoral politics in which there are clear signs of democratic renewal: turnouts are up, candidates are well-known and clearly identify with their community, young people and minority ethnic communities have a voice and local people are interested and enthused by a distinctively 'local' brand of politics. This area is the 'non-statutory' community elections increasingly used within the New Deal for Communities (NDC) regeneration initiative. This article examines the experience of community elections in NDC areas - particularly focussing on Newcastle's West Gate - and argues that the elections provide examples of good practice and innovation that could be used to enhance the conduct of local government elections. Moreover, community elections could also make a positive contribution to revitalising the overall health of local democracy by providing a 'complementary' channel of representation to that provided by elected local councillors.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article draws upon Shaw’s commissioned research for the New Deal for Communities Partnership, Newcastle. The research provided a framework for developing non-statutory Community Elections, and also served to evaluate the initial running of the elections in 2002. The article, written solely by Shaw (but drawing upon joint data collection), was one of the first outputs to highlight how such elections could be used to empower local community representatives and also assessed how such innovations should be viewed within the wide debates on democratic renewal. The eventual output was aimed at both academic and user communities
Subjects: L200 Politics
L400 Social Policy
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 23 May 2008 14:30
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 04:35

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