With respect to the public consultation exercise entitled ‘Local Government Policy 2021’, the Malta Sociological Association has submitting the following recommendations to Government:
1. Local Councils should have a stronger local function, for example in community initiatives and everyday matters. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how important it is to have grounded policy making initiatives which reach out to various social groups in an increasingly diverse society. These also include persons and groups who lack social networks, those who are less integrated in society and those who have less access to the basic needs of everyday life.
2. Local Council decision making should be guided by evidence. In particular, local councils should employ continuous social impact assessment (SIA) processes, to ensure greater outreach and deliberation with stakeholders, through both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and subject to independent peer-review. SIAs could produce valuable evidence for policy formation and implementation.