This document sets out Involve’s response to the Government’s plan to repeal the Duty to Involve.

In April the government announced its plans to repeal the Duty to Involve. Given the lack of evidence about how and whether the Duty to Involve is working, we asked you, our network, to provide your own thoughts and experiences. Thank you to all those who emailed, tweeted and filled out our survey. We have now written these up and submitted the response to CLG.

Summary of findings

  • There is very limited evidence of any impact of the duty to date, either in terms of positive influences on democratic engagement or evidence of the duty being a negative burden on authorities. Many people commented that it is too early to tell what impact the duty has had.
  • Many people who responded felt that the repeal of the duty sends out a message that runs counter to the message of the Big Society. The repeal seems to risk creating confusion and mixed messages amongst the public and local government. There was also a sense that the timing of the decision was not good.
  • A fear expressed by a number of respondents was that the repeal of the duty would be used as an excuse by councils to cut their citizen engagement to the bone. If CLG does not want this to happen they need to send out a message to councils that engagement is still important even though the duty has been repealed.
  • Most of the respondents did not agree that the new rights to bid, buy and challenge are replacements for the Duty to Involve.
  • Most of the respondents did not feel that the duty at the moment is a significant bureaucratic burden to councils.
  • Regardless of the decision about the Duty to Involve many people we spoke to highlighted the importance of encouraging culture change at the local level to make consultations and engagement meaningful for local people.
  • The majority of people we spoke to seemed to favour reforming the duty rather than abolishing it outright

View the full submission:

Involve response to Best Value Statutory Guidance Consultation