The Secretary of State launched the Sustainable Communities Act on 14 October 2008 with an invitation for proposals to improve the sustainability of local communities. It begins from the principle that local people know best what needs to be done to promote the economic, social or environmental well being of their area, but that sometimes they need the Government to act to enable them to do so. It provides a channel for local people to ask the Government to take such action.
The Sustainable Communities Act, together with the ‘duty to involve’ included in the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, aims to achieve higher levels of community participation in decision-making.
More recently the Act has been amended and is now part of the Government’s ‘localism’ and ‘big society’ agenda. Previously there were set periods during which applications could be received but now submissions can be made at any time. The Government sees the Act as a way to allow communities to remove barriers, mainly through its ‘barrier busting’ website:
Barrier Busting (external website)