25 July 2008
Councillors must improve public trust in local politics if the government's community empowerment initiative is to succeed, according to the Improvement and Development Agency and the think-tank Demos.
Their report says that the government's hopes for greater public involvement in community issues could be undermined if low levels of trust in politics were not addressed.
The research, carried out over nine months across four local authority areas, found that people were more likely to take up the opportunities outlined in this month's Communities in control white paper if they trusted their councils.
The report says that providing better services will not alone rebuild faith in representative democracy. Councillors must look to improve transparency around decision-making.
Report author Simon Parker from Demos said: 'The public cares about process as well as outcomes. What you do matters, but so does how you do it.
'The key is to focus on the personal interactions between citizens and staff and a new approach to taking political decisions.'