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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

Empowering communities to influence local decision-making

The government's Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) commissioned Professors Graham Smith and Gerry Stoker and colleagues at the Local Government Research Unit and De Montfort University to undertake research following the publication of the White Paper, 'Communities in control: real power, real people'.

It aimed to examine the merits of different community empowerment mechanisms, including asset transfer, citizen governance, electronic participation, participatory budgeting, petitions and redress.

The research team applied the novel technique crisp-set qualitative comparative analysis (also known as Boolean analysis) to selected cases. This methodological development was later praised by the chief economist at CLG.

Reports produced by the research team were referred to by the then Secretary of State, Hazel Blears, in her speech during the second reading debate for the Local Democracy Bill in the House of Commons, 1 June 2009.

The research team produced two linked reports:

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