The LGA have responded to the Empowerment White Paper - a document that has lots of sensible stuff in the body text, and lots of rather flaky ill-thought-out stuff in it's executive summaries and the 'for emphasis' sections.
And there's this in the LGA response:
On the 'duty to promote democracy', Sir Simon said:
"Ensuring that people participate in local democracy is healthy, legitimate and must be encouraged. Greater participation brings more diversity and encourages a much fuller local debate about issues that affect all our lives.
“It is councillors that know their local areas and the people who live there, so it is good news that proposed legislation allows the necessary flexibility that will allow them to respond to local circumstance and residents’ wishes and concerns. Any guidance on this provided to councils in the future must avoid prescription."
I'd disagree with this last sentence. Council officers (with notable exceptions) in my experience, detest the idea of helping Councillors communicate with the public. Unless they are told very specifically how they are to do this by HMG (with worksheets and publishable benchmarks), they simply won't do it.
I could tell you some stories, believe me. But I've probably used this blog to advance a business project I'm working on more than I should do already, so I'll stop there.
There are other interpretations, of course.....