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About Laird Ryan

Laird Ryan is a Co-Director of the National Coalition for Independent Action.  A freelance advisor on planning, equalities and community development, he has held a range of senior roles in government, academia and the voluntary sector.

Articles by Laird Ryan

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Devolution? Or just doing Osborne's bidding?

The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is going through parliament. Who’s likely to benefit, who isn’t, and what’s been happening around the country?

The new housing bill: people, planning or productivity?

The Conservative government’s agenda is beginning to take shape. What has it to say about the things that matter most to communities? Let’s start with the housing bill.

'Building A Better Future Through Civic Partnership'

The Centre for Inclusive Futures is a small London-based development agency with the mission of supporting efforts to develop sustainable communities which include everyone as equal citizens.

The National Audit Office savages the government's inept "100,000 homes" drive

The NAO’s report on the government’s sales of public land for new homes makes for uncomfortable reading. But it’s not just land that’s surplus to requirements: it’s the use of evidence itself.

The truth behind Osborne's devolution "revolution"

Despite the “radical devolution” promised by the chancellor, the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill will leave Westminster firmly in control of the things that matter.

What now for Localism?

So the Tories have been returned with an overall majority to govern us for another five years. What does this mean for local democracy?

What’s happening with devolution?

What genuine changes have been secured for local democracy across the UK in recent months? Is devolution creating powerhouses or poor houses?

Localism: a case of old friends re-united?

Looking at a set of recent planning outcomes across England: it’s clear that the localism agenda hasn’t tipped the balance in favour of grassroots communities. The same old names keep cropping up.

Localism: a tale of GVAs, grandees and The Guardian (but not much greenery)

Will localism form part of the forthcoming election manifestos? If so, what exactly? Some early indications on the Coalition side.

Community Rights: where’s the evidence?

The Communities and Local Government Select Committee has reported back on its inquiry into Community Rights.  The government has responded – using dodgy data to reward bad performance. What’s the story?

Is the General Power of Competence helping grassroots communities?

The Localism Act gives councils a ‘General Power of Competence’ (GPoC) allowing them the same legal powers as private individuals.  But are they using these freedoms in ways that benefit grassroots localities?

DevoMix Christmas special: LocalismWatch’s seasonal update on devolution

We now know what the Smith Commission’s proposing for Scotland, and William Hague’s options on English votes for English laws.  But how does devolution tie up with localism? A Santa-stic overview of news, comment and (dis)information.

Who really runs our neighbourhoods?

Looking at the progress of the government’s not-knowingly-undersold neighbourhood plans: are they really helping local people take charge of their neighbourhoods? And if not, who’s really benefitting?

LocalismWatch Resources December 2014

DevoMix: localism and the devolution debate

Considering a wide range of media reports and commentaries on the UK’s ongoing devolution debate - do the solutions politicians seem to be offering genuinely address the issues as seen by local people?

Upcoming Localism Events: late November onwards, 2014

The latest on upcoming Localism events.

LocalismWatch Resources - 13 November 2014

More news, comment, advice and information on localism from around the country.

New inquiry - are "community rights" actually working?

The right to very little at all: House of Commons select committee launches an inquiry into the new ‘community rights’.

Upcoming Localism Events – November 2014

Localism events to look out for in November.

LocalismWatch Resources - 20 October 2014

A trawl of the latest online news, comment, advice and information.

Localism Watch Resources – October 2014

Localism Watch resources, October 2014 - including the aftermath of the indyref...

Localism Watch resources, Sept 2014

Resources for Localism Watch, September, 2014

How local is localism? The grassroots view

Community leaders tell me why the government’s localism agenda isn’t really helping local people take charge of their areas. But they did have plenty of ideas for how LocalismWatch can change the picture.

Localism: as if people mattered

The editor of our LocalismWatch series introduces the series by exploring the Coalitions’ localism agenda, exposes its inherent shortcomings and contradictions, and calls for localism to be brought back to the grassroots where it truly belongs.

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