A critical assessment of new community
and individual rights
By Dexter Whitfield
New community rights to bid, buy, build, challenge and provide are enshrined in legislation and Coalition policy. The government is also extending existing individual rights to buy and to personal budgets. Considerable sums of public money are required to implement these policies and provide technical and legal support to voluntary and community organisations to exercise these rights.
This paper examines the objectives and scope of the new community rights and proposes a typology of public sector reform rights. It highlights the fundamental conflicts between ‘rights’, ‘choice’ and ‘contract’ cultures and localism. It assesses the conflicts and contradictions between community and commissioning, participation and empowerment, and the impact on democratic accountability, public finance, employment, equalities, the changing role of the state and community, voluntary and non-profit organisations.