what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

exploring local government

Scholars of government and administration have reason to be grateful to the British Parliamentary tradition of Committee and Select Committee investigations, hearings and publications. Not only officials and politicians but academics, think tankers and journalists offer their insights verbally and in writing – all of which are reproduced and available online. With a stylistic elegance and clarity of language which is often missing from other sources! The Select Committee on Public Administration has been a particularly good source of information – and I now see that there is, after the General Election of 2010, a new Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform which is now inquiring into the desirability of codifying relations between central and local government. It has posed the following questions - Various answers to these questions are already available on the site as well as a report I missed a couple of years back on the Balance of Power between central and local government – this time from the Communities and Local Government Committee.

Also a powerful article on the scale of change which the coalition government is smuggling into public services in Britain
1. Should the relationship between central and local government be codified?
Should codification of the relationship between central and local government be considered in the context of a wider constitutional codification?
2. If codification is appropriate, what degree of independence from central government and what powers should local government be given?
3. How, if at all, should the status of local government be entrenched, or protected from change by central government?
4. What consequences should codification or other change in the relationship between central and local government have on the accountability of local authorities to elected local politicians, local people and central government?
5. Does the devolution settlement provide a relevant model for a possible codification of the status of local government?
6. Are there examples of constitutional settlements between central and local government in other countries that are relevant to an appropriate model for the UK?
7. What is the value of existing attempts to codify the relationship between central and local government, through: the Central-Local Concordat or the European Charter of Local Self-Government? Should this Charter be placed on a statutory footing?
8. How would the “general power of competence” for local authorities proposed by the current Government affect the constitutional relationship between central and local government?

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