On the eve of the publication of the Localism Bill, this short paper provides five key principles - five foundations - against which the anticipated raft of localist policy measures can be assessed.

As a political slogan, 'localism' would appear to carry weight, but as a policy construct it becomes much harder to articulate and implement. Unless measures within the Bill address each of these foundations in a meaningful and effective manner, any serious attempt to decentralise England is likely to be seriously flawed.

Those five foundations are:

- localism must be effective and efficient

- localism must be properly funded

- localism must sit at the heart of a drive for social justice

- greater devolution of power and responsibility to the local level must be accompanied by a step-change in the transparency and accountability of local decision-making

- the new drive for localism should be framed within a constitutional settlement between central and local government.