Stuart Cameron:
University of Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.
Paper to Conference: Area-based initiatives in contemporary urban policy

The urban regeneration policies of the UK Labour Government of Tony Blair
which came to power in 1997 were essentially defined by two key
documents and the subsequent policy processes and statements to which
they gave rise. These policy statements are the report of the Urban Task
Force, chaired by the architect Lord Richard Rogers, entitled Towards an
Urban Renaissance (Rogers 1999), and the report of the Social Exclusion
Unit, which had been established within the Cabinet Office by the Labour
Government soon after its election, entitled Bringing Britain Together: A
national strategy for neighbourhood renewal (Social Exclusion Unit 1998)
    These two reports effectively defined two separate and distinctive strands
to urban regeneration policy in England, each with its own focus and its own
purpose. The terms which will be used in this paper for these two strands
are ‘Urban Renaissance’ and ‘Neighbourhood Renewal’.
    It will be argued below that there is some merit in recognising and
differentiating these two different aspects of urban regeneration. At the same
time, there are some significant points of overlap and linkage between them.
In particular, the concept of neighbourhood management can be seen as
one of the key ‘linchpins’ connecting the two sets of policies. Neighbourhood
management, together with associated concepts, policies and policy
objectives and such as neighbourhood wardens and mixed communities, will
be explored in some detail below. Its diverse origins, and its potential and
limitations in the UK context will be discussed.

Urban Renaissance and Neighbourhood

    Urban Renaissance: The purpose of urban renaissance is to make cities
    better and more attractive locations for the population as a whole. The focus
    is likewise the city as a whole. The essence of this approach is the
    improvement of the quality and capacity of the physical fabric of the city.
        The Mission Statement for Lord Roger’s Urban Task Force was as
       The Urban Task Force will identify causes of urban decline in England
       and recommend practical solutions to bring people back into our cities,
       towns and neighbourhoods. It will establish a new vision for urban
       regeneration founded on the principles of design excellence, social
       well-being and environmental responsibility within a viable economic
       and legislative framework.
    One of the most important issues which provided a background to the
    Report is the Greenfield/Brownfield debate. A main impetus to this debate
    was the publication in 1995 of household growth forecasts for the UK
    suggesting the need to accommodate 4.4 million additional households in
    the period 1991-2016.
        The implications of this scale of growth of household numbers, and the
    requirement for additional housing and land to accommodate them, became
    a major issue. In particular, the possibility that this higher level of demand for
    housing would lead to increased house-building on undeveloped ‘greenfield’
    land in the countryside was a concern. This added to the call to increase the
    extent to which housing in particular, and urban development in general, be
    accommodated on re-used ‘brownfield’ sites within urban areas. Both the
    outgoing Conservative government and the incoming Labour government
    identified a target of 60% of new housing development on brownfield land.
    An important element of the role of the Urban Task Force was to develop
    policy measures to achieve this objective. Their own assessment which they
    examined over the period 1996-2116 with a net rise of 3.8 million
    households for England (DETR 1999) estimated that current policies would
    produce a brownfield contribution of 55%, falling short of the 60% target.
        The greenfield/brownfield debate had previously concerned itself mainly
    with the issue of land availability and discussions of ‘technical’ solutions to
    increase the supply of brownfield land, through the recyling of derelict and
    contaminated urban land and so on.
        However, the essence of the argument of the Urban Task Force is that
    such an approach is not sufficient. A successful strategy must also address
    the issue of the dissatisfaction of many with city life and the desire of those
    with choice to move out of cities to more rural locations – it must reverse the
    trend towards counter-urbanisation. Policies must not only find more
    capacity to accommodate people in urban areas, but also make them more
    attractive so that people will choose to live within cities.
        The main emphasis of the Urban Task Force report is, therefore, on a
    broader agenda of making the urban environment more attractive and
    improving the quality of urban life.
        Towards an Urban Renaissance is dominated by the vision of a European
    model of the city. There are, for example, close parallels between the
    preferred model of the city in Towards an Urban Renaissance and that in the
    report produced by the European Commission in 1990 called The Green
Paper on the Urban Environment. The city of Barcelona is explicitly identified
as a role model (a former mayor of the city provides a foreword to the
report), and in his own foreword Rogers states that:
   In the quality of our urban design and strategic planning we are
   probably 20 years behind places like Amsterdam and Barcelona.
A major element is the concept of the ‘compact city’, with an emphasis on
higher density urban development (especially housing development) and an
integrated public transport system. There is also an emphasis on the close
mixing of both land-uses and activities, and social and ethnic groups, within
the city. A further focus, again strongly reflecting a European model, is the
importance of the quality of public space and the public realm to the quality
of urban life. This is seen as ‘regaining an urban tradition’ in Britain which
has been retained in European cities, and which, implicitly at least, is
contrasted with the low density, car-based, single-use zoned, socially-
divided and privatised US-style city.
   The key concept of Towards an Urban Renaissance is the idea of design-
led regeneration. It emphasises the role of architecture and urban design:
   Successful urban regeneration is design-led. Promoting sustainable
   life styles and social inclusion in our towns and cities depends on the
   design of the physical environment
Area-based initiatives do play a part in the proposals of the Urban Task
Force. For example, it is proposed that Urban Priority Areas be designated
in some localities. These proposals reflect the emphasis on design and
physical regeneration, with the preparation of spatial master-plans, higher
planning and building performance requirements, fiscal incentives and
priority for public investment for regeneration and the retention of some local
taxation for management and maintenance. A further policy proposal is for
the establishment of Urban Regeneration Companies- arms-length
companies set up by local authorities to undertake regeneration. They would
be area or town-based and would include local authorities, housing
associations, private developers, local community representatives and the
Regional Development Agencies. Three pilot Urban Regeneration
Companies have now been established in Liverpool, Manchester and
   Also, the main emphasis of the proposals is not on area-based action or
special zones but on improving the quality of the town or city as a whole. It is
suggested, for example, that a condition of funding for regeneration will be
the preparation by local authorities of a spatial master-plan – a three-
dimensional framework for the whole area identifying a network of public
spaces, setting new development in its context, and specifying height and
massing of buildings to achieve ‘urban’ quality.
   Awareness and education are given a strong emphasis. This includes
improving the quality of design through the production of design briefs,
design competitions, and the creation of Regional Resource Centre for
Urban Development to improve the training of built environment
professionals and to bridge across traditional professional boundaries.
Public awareness of design is to be encouraged through the creation of
Local Architecture Centres for public education,

Neighbourhood Renewal: The remit to the Social Exclusion Unit for the
report Bringing Britain Together: A national strategy for neighbourhood
renewal was to:
   develop an integrated and sustainable approaches to the problems of
   the worst housing estates, including crime, drugs, unemployment,
   community breakdown, and bad schools etc.
The focus of Neighbourhood Renewal is, therefore, on the problems of
    people in the most deprived neighbourhoods. The use of the term 'estates'
    above suggested an identification primarily with local authority housing
    estates, though in practice the neighbourhood Renewal programme does
    cover other kinds of neighbourhood.
       A first step in the development of a strategy was to examine the lessons
    and the failures of past urban regeneration programmes and initiatives. A
    number of key lessons from past programmes emerged:
       The emphasis on ‘bricks-and-mortar’ in past programmes, with
    investment mainly in spending on buildings and environmental
    improvements, was criticised:
       ‘Often huge sums of money have been spent on repairing buildings
       and giving estates a new coat of paint, but without matching
       investment in skills, education and opportunities for the people who
       live there.’ (Social Exclusion Unit 1998, op cit, Foreword by the Prime
    In practice this implied mainly a reduction in spending on housing renewal.
    Instead, attention was to shift to ‘people-focused’ measures, especially
    related to issues of education, training for employment and health.
        The other main criticism of past initiatives was that special funding, area-
    based initiatives had been ‘parachuted’ into localities without sufficient
    participation by local communities and without sufficient ‘joined-up thinking’
    linking projects to each other and to mainstream public services.
        Ironically, although the switch from bricks and mortar to people-focused
    action was carried through, it was largely achieved through a further
    proliferation of special zones and funding programmes. This included a new
    general purpose, integrated area—based programme called New Deal for
    Communities – heavily funded but concentrated on a few very small areas –
    but also a wide range of special-pupose zones, developed largely
    independently of each other as different government ministries launched
    their own area-based programmes. Examples of these included:
        Sure Start: childcare, early learning and family support for young children
    in deprived neighbourhoods),
        Employment Zones: Employment mentoring for long-term unemployed
    over 25.
        Health Action Zones: Local partnerships to develop and implement local
    health strategies.
        Education Action Zones: Typically covering 2/3 secondary schools and
    their feeder primaries in areas of under-achievement or disadvantage.
        New Start: Aimed at ‘re-engaging’ 14-17 year olds who have dropped out
    of education.
        The Neighbourhood Renewal strand in English urban regeneration was
    from the beginning clearly focused on the most deprived and disadvantaged
    localities. An important aspect of policy development was the construction of
    a new statistical index of deprivation (Noble et al 2000), applied at the level
    of the local authority electoral ward and used to identify the ‘worst’ wards
    and the local authorities with the greatest concentration of the worst wards,
    and to target funding on those local authorities.

The Process of Policy Development

One of the most interesting features of the Neighbourhood Renewal strand
in particular is the extent to which the emphasis of policy has rapidly
changed over a period of little more than two years. An extensive and
explicit process of policy development was, in fact, built into the
Neighbourhood Renewal strategy from the beginning, and announced in the
Bring Britain Together report.
    In order to explore key policy issues, and to encourage the development
of joined-up thinking in relation to neighbourhood renewal, 18 Policy Action
Teams were identified which cross-cut 10 government departments (and
involve outside advisers). These were intended to 'fill in some of the missing
bits of the jigsaw and build up a comprehensive national strategy by
December 1999'. A further consultation phase on the Neighbourhood
Renewal strategy took place in 2000, following the publication of the 18 PAT
reports. This led in January 2001 to the publication of the Neighbourhood
Renewal Strategy Action Plan: A New Commitment to Neighbourhood
Renewal: National Strategy Action Plan (Social Exclusion Unit: 2001).
    The Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy Action Plan clearly reflects the
change of emphasis in the focus of the Strategy. While there is still an
important element of area-based special funding initiatives in the Strategy,
this aspect is given much less emphasis. Instead, there is more emphasis
on mainstream public services delivering targets for improvement in the
most disadvantaged neighbourhood, on the development of Local Strategic
Partnerships, and on the development of neighbourhood management.
    Public Service Agreements (PSAs) now lie at the core of the Strategy.
These have established targets to which government departments have
committed themselves in return for Treasury funding and ‘neighbourhood
renewal has been placed at the very heart of the agenda for each
department’, with targets and funding to address the problems of deprived
areas. This is looked at in key five areas: employment and economies;
crime; education and skills:; health; and poor housing and physical
    A new funding programme has been introduced, with £800 million for the
period 2001-2004 for a Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF). This is not,
though, intended as the basis for another area-based special project funding
programme. The resources are available to ‘help local authorities in the most
deprived areas focus their main programme expenditures in order to deliver
better outcomes for their most deprived communities’. Funding will be
available to the 88 most deprived districts in England, identified on the basis
of the Indices of Deprivation 2000. Resources are allocated on the basis of
needs indices rather than through competitive bidding, but must be agreed
by the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP).
    Local Strategic Partnerships are the other main innovation, and are now
seen as central to the development of the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy.
They are to be established in all areas and will usually, though not always,
comprise a local authority district (in some areas districts may combine).
They will bring together local stakeholders from public, voluntary and private
sectors, and will provide a vision and strategy for the development and
regeneration of their area and a framework within which other programmes
and partnerships will operate at the more local scale. They are not only
concerned with the most deprived neighbourhoods, they are really part of
the broad Modernising Local Government agenda. However, one of their
functions will be to prepare a local Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy for
    deprived neighbourhood and to co-ordinate area-based regeneration
        One important feature of this change of approach is a move not only from
    area-based projects and initiatives towards mainstream programmes, but
    also from the ‘challenge funding’ approach in which local areas competed for
    funding – extensively used in the area-based programmes of the
    Conservative Government – towards a ‘contract’ approach, seen, for
    example, in the development of Public Service Agreements at both national
    and local levels. The French Contrat de Ville programme has been an
    influence on this (S Hall & J Mawson: Challenge Funding, Contracts and
    Area Regeneration Polity Press 1999, JRF Findings 359)
        In the case of the Urban Renaissance strand, the process was less one
    of explicit policy development and more of simple delay. The ideas of the
    Urban Task Force were to be implemented through an Urban White Paper,
    but it was two years before the its final appearance in November 2000
    (DETR 2000). In that time it became something of a cliché to describe the
    Urban White Paper as ‘long-awaited’.
        When it appeared, the Urban White Paper did present many of the ideas
    of Towards an Urban Renaissance, though in somewhat diluted form. There
    were proposals for tax incentives to increase investment in the reuse of
    urban land and building, and proposals for new Town Improvement Zones
    and Urban Regeneration Companies. The powerful message of a design-led
    approach to regeneration, and the ideal of the European city, was, perhaps,
    less evident. What the Urban White Paper did do was to place the Urban
    Renaissance strategy within a wider context. In particular, it echoed the
    Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy Action Plan in emphasising the
    importance of central government mainstream spending programmes and
    the development of mechanisms such as Public Service Agreements. It also
    discussed the Neighbourhood Renewal theme, though without really adding
    any further proposals to those included in the Action Plan.

Urban Renaissance and Neighbourhood
Renewal :Divergence and Convergence

The making of a clear distinction between these two aspects of urban
regeneration is, in many ways, something to be welcomed. Too often in the
past there has been a confusion of expectations about the various
instruments of urban policy in the UK. The Urban Development Corporations
(UDCs) of the 1980s and 1990s provide an excellent example. These were
essentially a means of achieving physical renewal through commercial
property development of areas of underused and derelict urban land, usually
the sites of obsolete former industrial or port activities. However, they were
often presented as a response to an ‘inner city problem’ which involved the
concentration of economically and socially deprived and excluded
populations in the inner urban areas of cities. However, they did little to
directly address the of excluded neighbourhoods, and had little impact on
their problems. UDCs were widely criticised for failing to achieve more for
the disadvantaged residents of cities, but in a sense this reflected entirely
unrealistic expectations of the policy. What was required was a more honest
appreciation that what they sought to achieve was the physical renewal of
inner urban areas, but that this was largely irrelevant to the deprived
communities and their residents. The current pattern of policies in England
allows this more explicit recognition of the different aims of ‘regeneration’.
    In a sense the Urban Task Force report can be seen as continuing the
approach to urban regeneration of Urban Development Corporations, in that
its aim is the physical regeneration of urban areas. However, there are
important elements which do stand in contrast to the UDC approach.
Perhaps most obviously is an emphasis in Towards an Urban Renaissance
on the ‘public’ dimension. This has two elements. Firstly, although there is
discussion about ways of increasing private sector investment in urban
regeneration, the approach involves a strong element of public-sector
intervention, and especially a powerful role for local authorities in taking on
the leadership in urban renaissance. This strongly contrasts with the private-
sector focus of UDCs. Secondly, there is an emphasis on the public realm
which is distinct from the tendency within the UDC approach to development
to produce private enclaves relatively isolated and disconnected from the
surrounding urban environment.
    The Urban Task Force recognised a social dimension and talkd of
prioritising social well-being and social integration. However, in effect these
aspects are subordinate to issues of design and sustainability. The focus is
on the improvement of the quality of city life for the population as a whole
rather than on addressing issues of social exclusion and deprivation. The
need for the policies in Towards an Urban Renaissance to work alongside
policies with a more social focus is recognised in Rogers’s foreword:
  …regeneration has to be design led. But to be sustainable
  regeneration also has to take place within its economic and social
  context. There are essential issues – education, health, welfare and
  security - which fall outside the remit of this report. It is important that
  through the forthcoming Urban White Paper and into the future,
  government departments and institutions combine policies, powers
  and resources to achieve an integrated approach in meeting the needs
  of urban communities.

The recognition of the divergence and complementarity of the objectives of
    the Urban Renaissance and Neighbourhood Renewal strands does
    potentially provide a valuable clarity within the development of urban
    regeneration in the England. Clearly, though, there are also important points
    of convergence.
        In part, this relates to shared objectives. One important aim of both of the
    strategies is to foster more socially-mixed communities. The Neighbourhood
    Renewal strategy views the creation of socially-mixed communities, and
    especially the introduction of more affluent and economically-active
    residents to neighbourhoods with a concentration of the deprived and
    socially excluded, as an aspect of addressing the problems of these
    neighbourhoods. The introduction in to social housing in England of
    experiments in the application of the Delft model of more open, ‘market’ style
    housing allocation system (Brown, Hunt and Yates, 2000) is, for example,
    seen as one potential means of addressing this objective (PAT7 1999).
        The issue of mixed communities is also raised in Towards an Urban
    Renaissance, though again with more emphasis on its implications for the
    quality of life in the city as a whole. Firstly, an urban fabric which includes a
    close mix of land-uses and activities, and of social and ethnic groups, is
    seen as contributing to the vibrancy and life of the city. Secondly, the social
    exclusion and polarisation and their concentration in specific urban
    neighbourhoods is seen as a threat to the quality of life of the city as whole,
    and as one of the factors driving the exodus from cities.
        As well as having some common objectives – albeit with a somewhat
    different emphasis, there is also an element of convergence between the
    two strands in their proposals for the development and use of policy
    instruments. As suggested in the introduction, one key aspect of this is the
    idea of neighbourhood management.

Neighbourhood Management

It is difficult to provide a single definition and description of neighbourhood
management. As with any concept which is contemporary and emergent,
there are many different interpretations and the term is given different
meanings and emphases as it is taken up within a range of policy agenda.
    One way of understanding Neighbourhood Management is to see it as
part of a hierarchy of change which forms the ‘Modernising Government’
policies of the Labour Government.(HM Government 1999) These changes
involve the promotion of joined-up thinking, an emphasis on co-ordination
and bending mainstream programmes, the movement to a contract
approach and, especially at local level, the engagement of stakeholders and
community participation in decision-making.
    At central government level this is expressed most clearly in the
introduction of Public Service Agreements. At regional level an enhanced
role for the Regional Offices of Government is envisaged in joining-up
policies. At the level of the local authority district there are changes in the
operation of local councils – especially through the development of
Community Planning, Best Value and Local Public Service Agreements, and
also through the introduction of Local Strategic Partnerships. At the local
level there is neighbourhood management.
    Neighbourhood management is essentially about the control and co-
ordination of services at the local community or neighbourhood level. There
are, though, a range of possibilities within this broad concept. There is, for
example, a question about the balance between issues of service delivery
and governance. The emphasis might be on the quality of the package of
services, or on the extent of community engagement and control in the
decision-making process. This might also be reflected in the question of how
neighbourhood management is delivered – whether through a professional
‘urban manager’ or neighbourhood management team, or through a local
community organisation or stakeholder partnership (though these are not
necessarily mutually exclusive).
    Taylor (2000) identified three models for the development of
neighbourhood management:
– Starting with services: service development. This involves building out
    from a specific service to play a wider role within the local community.
    The most common model is Housing Plus (Housing Corporation 1997),
    based on expanding the role of a social housing agency into wider
    community support and regeneration.
– Starting with services: area co-ordination. This is a local-authority led
    approach in which the management and delivery of local public services
    are decentralised and co-ordinated at a more local level.
– Starting from communities. This might involve any of a wide range of
    community-led organisations, such as Community Development Trusts.
    The essence is the degree of devolution of power from local politicians
    and professionals to members of local communities.

Clearly, an important influence on the development of the concept of
neighbourhood management has been the range of experiments in
decentralisation of the management of local authorities, and the role of
neighbourhood management as the neighbourhood dimension of the
Modernising Government agenda (Burgess at al 2001).

There are, through, two other – quite different - developments might be
     seen to underlie the notion of urban management and urban managers in
     the UK. One is the growing popularity of Town Centre Managers, and the
     other is the process of decentralisation of the management of social housing
     to an estate or neighbourhood level.
         Over the past 10 years or so, many towns and cities in the UK have
     appointed Town Centre Managers. One of main motives for this has been
     the competition faced by traditional central areas from large out-of-town
     shopping centres. Out-of-town centres and shopping malls offer a
     comprehensively managed and controlled shopping environment. Town
     Centre Management is a response to this challenge, seeking to create a
     shopping environment more akin to that of the shopping mall. The
     appointment of a Town Centre Manager provides a structure of overall
     management of the traditional shopping centre, which may be combined
     with physical improvement – pedestrianisation, the improvement to public
     space within the central area – and often in the UK the installation of security
     systems such as Closed Circuit Television (CCTV). The City Centre
     Manager can organise collective action for individual businesses –
     marketing and promotion, special events etc – but it is the management of
     the public realm of the shopping centre which is perhaps of central
         Neighbourhood or estate-based management of social housing has been
     a feature of housing management for at least 20 years in the UK. It is most
     often used by larger local authorities with large housing stocks, concentrated
     in large estates. The impetus for the development of neighbourhood
     management of housing arose from the social and management problems
     associated with these estates, over a period when the concentration of the
     deprived and socially-excluded in some local authority estates was
     becoming increasingly evident. One of the most important influences
     arguing, from the late 1970s, for the development of decentralised, estate
     and neighbourhood management was the Priority Estates Project and the
     work with it of Ann Power (Power 1987). Neighbourhood management was
     seen as a way of providing a more responsive and effective style of
     management, and one in which residents themselves could participate,
     replacing the old centralised, bureaucratic, paternalistic styles of social
     housing management.
         Many local authorities have now decentralised the management of all of
     their housing to neighbourhood level, so that it is not now necessarily a
     policy associated only with the most deprived and problematic estates, there
     is still a significant link with disadvantage, and neighbourhood management
     of social housing is still viewed as an important tool in addressing these
     issues of social, for example in the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy Policy
     Action Team 5 report on Housing Management (PAT 5 1999). Here it is
     associated with a range of related measure. These include more localised
     forms of management, such as the use of concierge and neighbourhood
     wardens (see below), again the installation and use of CCTV, and the
     operation of a range of new legal powers which have been made available
     to social landlords to ‘police’ their tenants in addressing problems of
     antisocial behaviour.
         These rather different antecedents to the concept of Neighbourhood
     Management can to an extent be linked to the rather different emphases of
     the use of the concept in the Urban Renaissance and the Neighbourhood
     Renewal strands.
         Neighbourhood Management and Urban Renaissance: Within the
     Urban Task Force report there is a strong emphasis on the importance of
     the management of the urban environment. It recognises that improvement
     to the design of the urban fabric and the quality of its buildings and spaces

are unlikely to succeed without equal attention being paid to the on-going
care and management of that environment.
    A process of urban management is an important priority within Urban
Renaissance. The Rogers report suggests this would involve a powerful role
for local government and the calls for increased resources for environmental
management and maintenance and more powers to require owners to
maintain properties etc. It also suggests the statutory designation of Town
Improvement Zones where public and private sectors share improvement
costs. It calls for experimentation with the application of neighbourhood
managers and management within two mains contexts: town centres and
housing neighbourhoods.
    The Town Centre Management concept has been discussed above; what
is more novel is the idea of extending an equivalent approach to other types
of area within the city, and particularly to residential neighbourhoods – not
just social housing neighbourhoods but all residential areas, including the
majority which are in private ownership. In England, most housing
neighbourhoods have traditionally minimise collective space and the public
realm, in the classic English suburb of semi-detached house in garden
space is essentially divided into private, individual. However, the aim of a
more compact, connected, vibrant city implies the need for a more
comprehensively-managed residential environment. The more collective
organisation of space implied by higher housing densities, the greater
emphasis given to the quality of public space and the public realm, the
management of mixed-use activities, all requires that attention is given to the
management of all residential neighbourhoods as a key element in
maintaining and improving the quality of the urban environment and the
quality of urban life.
    Again, the joining-up of services at the local level, as well as an element
of ‘policing’ of the environment, as well as an element of community
participation and control, would be central to this application of
neighbourhood management, but with again the emphasis on improving the
quality of the experience of the city for all its residents.
    Neighbourhood Management and Neighbourhood Renewal: At the
most local level of the individual neighbourhood and community, the move
away from the ‘bricks and mortar’ approach and area-based funding is
signalled most strongly within the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy by the
development of the concepts of Neighbourhood Management. One of the
Policy Action Teams looked specifically at this issue, and the
Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy Action Plan includes discussion of this
idea. The nature of neighbourhood management is not significantly different:
  ‘Neighbourhood Management works by placing a single person, team
  or organisation in charge – someone who local people can turn to if
  they face a problem Neighbourhood managers can help focus services
  on resident’s priorities and customer needs by making service level
  agreements; running local services; managing a devolved budget;
  and/or putting pressure on higher tiers of Government (Social
  Exclusion Unit 2001 op cit, p51)
A related proposal, again examined by one of the Policy Action Teams, is
the development of Neighbourhood Wardens (PAT4 2000). Neighbourhood
wardens will provide a ‘super-caretaker’ role for small neighbourhoods,
focusing mainly on crime and antisocial behaviour, but also on
environmental maintenance.

Neighbourhood Management – All neighbourhoods, or just
     the deprived?
     The results of a study of a sample of local authorities suggested that: There
     was a lack of unanimity among local authorities about whether
     neighbourhood management should be seen as primarily applicable to
     deprived areas…, or as part of a broader approach to localised working,
     service delivery and governance. (Burgess et al 2001). This is perhaps the
     key point of divergence between the approach to neighbourhood
     management of the neighbourhood Renewal and the Urban Renaissance
         It could be said that, in current Government policy in England, it is the
     Neighbourhood Renewal strand which has ‘captured’ the neighbourhood
     management concept, in the sense that plans for implementation of the
     concept are currently limited to areas of deprivation. There is to be a
     Neighbourhood Management pilot scheme with £45 million available from
         Applications have been invited to bid to be pathfinders in this scheme, but
     only from the 88 local authorities who are eligible for the Neighbourhood
     Renewal Fund on the basis of their high scores on the Indices of
     Deprivation. Similarly, £13.5 million is available to fund Neighbourhood
     Warden pilot schemes. All local authorities can apply, but schemes must be
     in areas of ‘demonstrable’ deprivation.
         It might appear that, in the interests of equity this emphasis is
     appropriate. However, the question is whether action at the local
     neighbourhood level can really be an appropriate and effective response to
     issues of deprivation and social exclusion. The author would suggest it
         There is an interesting historic parallel here. In the late 1960s and 1970s,
     what were then referred to as ‘Inner City Policies’ in the England went
     through a remarkably similar sequence of policy development. These began
     in the late 1960s with action zones in small neighbourhoods, with an
     emphasis on education and community development. Specific measures
     from the 1960s such as Educational Priority Areas were very similar in
     objectives and operation to, in this case, the recent Education Action Zones.
     In the mid 1970s there was a switch of focus to urban management,
     corporate planning of local government services and the bending of
     mainstream spending programmes, seen in initiatives such as the
     Comprehensive Community Programme and later in the Urban Programme.
     Again, there are close parallels with the most recent direction of policy in the
     Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy.
         However, underlying this evolution of policy, there was a powerful voice,
     reflected most clearly in the work of the Community Development Projects
     (CDPs) affirming that the problems urban deprivation were created in the
     structure of the wider economy and could not be effectively addressed by
     action within a local neighbourhood.
         The kind of structural economic issues underlying urban deprivation
     identified by the CDPs still exist. Turok and Edge (1999), for example,
     suggest that since 1981 Britain’s 20 major cities have lost 500,000 jobs
     while the rest of the country has gained 1.7 million jobs. They suggest that
     ‘hidden’ unemployment in cities is very high, and that the problem is mis-
     diagnosed by government as lack of skills etc when the basic issue is lack of
         Even more fundamental, perhaps, is the failure to reverse the trend of
     greater income inequality which began under the Conservative government
     20 years ago. Recent evidence (Lakin 2000) suggests that this trend has
     continued under the Labour Government of Tony Blair, with the Gini
     Coefficient – expressing the degree of income inequalty – reaching a score
of 40 in 1999-2000,higher than throughout the period of the Conservative
    The point that action in local areas is relatively insignificant compared to
the impact of broader economic and social policies is well made in a report
published in association with the Urban White Paper (Robson, Parkinson,
Boddy and Maclennan 2000):
    Britain has more experience of addressing social exclusion on an areal
basis than have other European countries. It could be argued that it has had
more success in implementing such policies. There have been clear
improvements in, and benefits from, the targeted programmes of the 1990s.
However, many other public policies also influence the nature and level of
social exclusion. The Dutch and the Danes may lag behind Britain in terms
of designing and delivering area-based programmes, but their more
regulated labour markets and traditionally greater support for welfare state
services through social housing, welfare benefits, health and education
systems have arguably limited the severity of social exclusion in the first
instance. Inequality had not grown during the 1990s in those two countries.
By contrast, the deregulation of labour markets and reductions in the nature
and level of support for welfare state services arguably contributed to the
growth of inequality in Britain during the same period. Area-based
approaches are clearly valuable ways of addressing the problem of social
exclusion. But the European experience emphasises that mainstream
programmes are the more important factor. The wider comparative lesson is
that prevention, rather than cure, may be the more intelligent strategy. (p44)
    It is clear that the emphasis of current Government policy is on the use of
neighbourhood management as a tool to address the problems of the most
deprived and disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The author would suggest
that this is not the appropriate emphasis, at least not if it is part of a
Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy which continues to emphasise action at
the local level. Rather, it is the objectives of the Urban Renaissance strand
which, realistically, are more likely to be achieved through Neighbourhood
Management. The application of Neighbourhood Management is more likely
to succeed in improving the quality of life in the central areas, the public
spaces and the ‘ordinary’ residential neighbourhoods of English cities than it
is in addressing issues of poverty and social exclusion.

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     Burgess P, Hall S, Mawson J& Pearce G(2001): Devolved Approaches to
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     DETR (1999): Projections of Households in England to 2001, London: DETR

     DETR (2000): OurTowns and Cities: The Future: Delivering an Urban
     Renaissance (The Urban White Paper) Command Paper 4911, November

     Housing Corporation (1997): A Housing Plus Approach to Achieving
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     HM Government 1999: Modernising Government Command paper 4310

     Lakin C (2001: ‘The effects of taxes and benefits on household income
     1999-2000’ Economic Trends No569 April 2001 London: Office of National

     Noble M et al (2000): Indices of Deprivation 2000 London: DETR/Oxford

     Policy Action Team 4 (2000): Neighbourhood Management London:
     Stationary Office

     Policy Action Team 5 (1999): Housing Management London: Stationary

     Policy Action Team 6 (1999): Neighbourhood Wardens London: Stationary

     Policy Action Team 7 (1999): Unpopular Housing London: Stationary Office

     Power A (1987) Property Before people: The management of twentieth-
     century council housing London: Allen & Unwin

     Robson B, Parkinson M, Boddy M and Maclennan D (2000): The State of
     English Cities London: Department of Environment, Transport and the

     Rogers R (1999): Towards an Urban Renaissance: The report of the Urban
     Task Force London: E & FN Spon

     Social Exclusion Unit (1998): Bringing Britain Together: A new strategy for
     neighbourhood renewal Command Paper 4045, London: Cabinet Office

     Social Exclusion Unit (2001): A New Commitment to Neighbourhood
     Renewal: National Strategy Action Plan London: Cabinet Office

     Turok I and Edge N (1999) The job gap in Britain’s cities: Employment loss
     and labour market consequences London: Polity Press

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