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In this report we evaluate Sunderland City Council's Community Leadership Programme, which is a key strand of the city's 'Sunderland Way of Working'.

There is a growing danger that the challenges we face as citizens, families and communities seem beyond politics. Yet democratic politics is the best way in which communities can promote their interests. The task is to realign local democratic politics to the circumstances, needs and aspirations of today's communities. This is not a separate and unrelated process from the imperative of promoting social productivity in public services. They are two sides of the same coin.

This is why Sunderland City Council asked us to evaluate its Community Leadership Programme (CLP). The Council has decided that it wants to simultaneously turn itself into a platform for local social and economic productivity and at the same time reinvigorate the role of local councillors as community leaders. In this report we provide a social productivity analysis of the Council's CLP, highlighting the lessons it can teach localities across the UK and how the Council could further strengthen the CLP through a socially productive approach to local democratic politics and public services.


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