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.



Democratic Decentralisation in the Commonwealth Caribbean

Local government reform in the Commonwealth Caribbean1 is a manifestation of experimentation with democratic decentralisation or ‘democratic local governance’ (Blair 2000), which is sweeping political and administrative systems worldwide. Central to the debate is the identification of a ‘democratic deficit’ and a general consensus that greater citizen activism and more responsive state institutions are positively correlated (Gaventa 2004; Narayan et al. 2000; Commonwealth Foundation 1999; Ward et al. 2010).


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