Working with communities

Helping communities to help themselves

1. Supporting communities

Central government plans to continue spending reductions up to and including 2017/18. This means that Devon County Council needs to save £110million by 2017. We are reviewing how we deliver many of our services to see how we can make these savings.

We are committed to helping communities to make decisions, develop ideas and take on assets and services that we currently deliver. We want people to have more influence, choice and control over the way in which local services are shaped and delivered, to help communities and voluntary sector organisations develop and grow.

We will work with communities to explore implications of any transfer of assets or services. We have developed a process which supports everyone involved to find out more and have an open and honest dialogue about the key considerations and responsibilities.

We can provide some support, advice and guidance to help to start turn your idea into reality. If you, or the organisation you represent, has an idea or proposal that you would like to discuss please register your interest

2. Taking responsibility for local services

There are many ways to provide services that offer better value for money, with greater local accountability including enhanced community involvement, partnership working and commissioned services. We are keen to invite interest from local communities.

Some of the issues to consider are:

  • How will the service support or contribute to agreed local priorities?
  • Are there other organisations providing similar services that you could join forces with?
  • Do you have the support of the wider community for your proposal?
  • Have you engaged with other local organisations to explore opportunities for collaboration or developing a joint proposal?
  • Do you have the skills, capacity and expertise needed to deliver the service?
  • What is your financial position?
  • Have you considered succession planning and continuity?

If you, or the organisation you represent, would like to find out more about taking responsibility for a service please register your interest

3. Transferring assets to communities

We recognise that transferring assets to the local community can result in benefits such as:

  • Empowering local communities by shaping and regenerating them, building capacity, encouraging them to work together and improving local democracy.
  • Creating stronger, more sustainable voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations.
  • More effective and more intensive use of local resources, extending use and increasing value to the community.
  • Generating long-term sustainable revenue streams for community organisations, making them more sustainable.
  • Providing VCS organisations with financial security, recognition, management capacity and leverage to attract new finance to expand the level of community activity.

We also recognise that taking on full responsibility for a property is a substantial commitment for community organisations. It is not always the only or best way to make sure that your community has access to the services that you would like to see provided.

To help organisations decide whether this is right for them, we have produced this guidance which sets out some areas for consideration. If you would like to register your interest please register your interest with your contact details and a brief description of your interest/proposal.


Your rights

Central government has made it easier for communities to help shape and run local services. This might include making services more responsive to local needs or improving value for money. Various people and relevant organisations, including members of staff, can ‘bid’ to run a council service using the community ‘right to challenge’. Our guidance on this process is available at

We own assets, such as land and buildings that are used for a wide variety of community and public purposes. Some of these assets will become surplus to requirements due to changes to the ways that services are run. We follow a code of practice on the disposal of surplus property

The Localism Act’s Community Right to Bid gives local communities the chance to bid to buy and take over running assets that are of value to them, such as a pub, village shop, library building or community centre. The assets could be owned by a council or other public body, a private company or an individual. Community groups (a parish or town council or other local community or voluntary organisation) can nominate local assets to feature on a register held and published by their district council.

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