Shifting the Balance of Community Power

In partnership with:

Barrow Cadbury Trust, Carnegie UK Trust, and Power to Change.

‘Shifting the Balance’ is NLGN’s project on the relationships and approaches that have transformed during the pandemic, and how good practices might be sustained as the crisis subsides.

In many places, the relationship between councils and communities has been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bureaucracy has had to take a back seat to agility and innovation. Many professionals have suddenly been given license to operate beyond traditional organisational boundaries, or have found that that what makes the difference under such circumstances is not existing qualifications but more “human” qualities like empathy or kindness.

These changes have sprung from necessity and in the context of a highly fraught environment. But once the peak of the crisis is over, there is a risk that the everyday pressures and priorities of public service will force a reversion to old practices. The challenge for those involved will be how to sustain all that was positive from those relationships into a post-pandemic future.

Shifting the Balance will explore the nature of the change in these practices and relationships, identifying what positive features could be mainstreamed and retained as we turn toward recovery.

For more information or to share your experience and contribute to our research, please contact Dr Simon Kaye at