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.



New Pathways to Effective Regional Governance: Canadian Reflections

Across the globe, there is considerable interest in federated local government systems (Slack 2007; Fahim 2009). In the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC), institutions for federated regional governance – known as regional districts (RDs) – date back more than four decades. When established, RDs were not viewed as ‘governments’, but were heralded merely as forums to reduce the transaction costs of inter-local co-operation for mutual benefit in service delivery. This chapter initially examines these institutions, explaining why regional districts on the whole have been successful with their service delivery mission.


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