New Century Local Government

Commonwealth Perspectives

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Democratic decentralisation through ‘conventional’ institutions of local government is facing increasing challenges, whether from financial pressures, questions of representativeness, difficult central-local relations and from a perhaps growing belief that local government has failed to realise its potential and there may be better ways of achieving societal goals. It is clear there is need to contemplate quite radical change to ensure local government becomes or remains ‘fit for purpose’.

This collection of papers illustrates the way in which the role of local government is evolving in different parts of the Commonwealth and provides practical examples of new local government at work. It showcases emerging practice, and highlights success stories from new ways of working and challenges confronting local government in both developed and developing countries.

New Century Local Government makes a very valuable contribution to helping understand the changing role of local government, and will ensure that practitioners are up-to-date with the most innovative initiatives in local government planning and administration.



Decentralisation and Community Budgeting in England

The United Kingdom has been described as the most centralised country in Europe: in 2005, the UK’s local authorities raised only 17 per cent of their income from local taxation compared with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 55 per cent (Blöchliger and Petzold 2009). While the smaller devolved nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have received significant delegated authority over the past 15 years, England has retained its centralised balance of power. This chapter assesses recent reform initiatives designed to redress this imbalance.


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