Abstracts: June 30th, 2004

By Dan Corry, Gerry Stoker, Warren Hatter, Ian Parker and Anna Randle.Since ‘New Localism’ entered UK policy debates, civil servants and politicians have been quick to reveal their decentralising rhetoric. The authors argue that the complexity of modern society demands a governance system that is neither old or new municipalism nor the new fad on the block, silo-based democracy. New Localism is not a fancy code word for devolving down service delivery areas to local managers, creating new democratic single issue boards around them and so cutting local government out of the picture in a wanton creation of silo accountability. Nor is it a code for devolving down everything to the Town Hall, stopping it there and having no other form of participative democratic body at local level.

The authors define the criteria that a local governance system should meet as effectiveness, accountability, participation, equity, diversity and innovation. They describe the two ‘governance challenges’ as governance of institutions and of joining up, and they conclude that the best way forward is a Pluralist approach, with a diversity of bodies at local level combined with a strong local authority giving community leadership.

Published by New Local Government Network. 11.25 pounds. Available from network@nlgn.org.uk  or 020 7357 0152.