A think-tank paper examined the contemporary role of United Kingdom local government, in the context of austerity and the coalition government's policy towards local government services. It said that councils were responding creatively to local challenges and that they had an ongoing role in addressing issues such as poverty and inequality, and in enhancing social solidarity. It made recommendations for increased powers and resourcing, and for local authorities to be permitted to use procurement practices to secure improvements in low pay.
Source: James Murray, The Role of Local Government in a Modern State, Centre for Labour and Social Studies
An article identified two dominant interpretations of centre-local relations under the Labour governments (1997ï¿½2010), which it characterized as 'state-centric dirigisme' and 'disciplined pluralism'.
Source: Steven Griggs and Helen Sullivan, 'Puzzling agency in centre-local relations: regulatory governance and accounts of change under New Labour', British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Volume 16 Issue 3
A special issue of a journal examined the impact of austerity policies adopted in European Union member states on municipal public sector employment, and the ways in which collective bargaining and employee participation were attempting to address the consequences for employees. Articles covered Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
Source: Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, Volume 20 Number 3
Links: Table of contents
Notes: Articles included:
Peter Leisink and Stephen Bach, 'Economic crisis and municipal public service employment: comparing developments in seven EU member states'
Stephen Bach and Alexandra Stroleny, 'Restructuring UK local government employment relations: pay determination and employee participation in tough times'
Richard Pond and Christine Jakob, 'Countering European economic policies through meaningful European social dialogue on local and regional government'
A special issue of a journal examined the governance of city regions.
Source: Urban Studies, Volume 51 Issue 11
Links: Table of contents
Notes: Articles included:
Iain Deas, 'The search for territorial fixes in subnational governance: city-regions and the disputed emergence of post-political consensus in Manchester, England'
John Harrison, 'Rethinking city-regionalism as the production of new non-state spatial strategies: the case of Peel Holdings Atlantic Gateway Strategy'
Simon Pemberton and Janice Morphet, 'The rescaling of economic governance: insights into the transitional territories of England'
Mike Coombes, 'From city-region concept to boundaries for governance: the English case'
A report by a committee of MPs said that the committee supported the principle of fiscal devolution in England, as the 'logical next step' on the path to genuine localism. The report discussed a range of associated issues and called on the government to work with local government to devise a fiscal devolution framework for local authorities.
Source: Devolution in England: The case for local government, First Report (Session 201415), HC 503, House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee, TSO
A report discussed the prospects for further devolution of powers to local authorities in England, and outlined proposals for Labour Party policy in this area.
Source: Final Report: People-powered public services, Local Government Innovation Taskforce
The Welsh Government began consultation on the future of local government in Wales. The white paper included a response to the local government aspects of the report of the Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery which, inter alia, had recommended the merger of some local authorities, raised issues regarding the scrutiny and governance of fire and rescue authorities, and recommended boundary changes. A further paper was published alongside the consultation that provided a deeper response to the reports from the Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery and the Silk Commission (on devolution in Wales), and discussed the future of the devolution settlement in Wales. The consultation would close on 1 October 2014.
Source: Reforming Local Government, Welsh Government
An article examined explanations for the introduction of elected mayors in England, the importance of local factors, and the link to existing policy debates. Drawing on the authors' analytical leadership grid, the paper drew links between the governmental, governance and allegiance roles of mayors, and the nature of local leadership.
Source: John Fenwick and Howard Elcock, 'Elected mayors: leading locally?', Local Government Studies, Volume 40 Issue 4
A think-tank report presented a collection of essays on the future of local government, considering a range of issues that included decentralization, leadership, relationships with communities and employees, and the global context. A further report would be published in the autumn of 2014 to incorporate feedback on the ideas presented.
Source: Municipal Futures: How we might begin to think differently about local government, Local Government Information Unit
A new book examined local government decision-making in the context of austerity policy. It considered the fundamental principles that should guide decision-making, and how local government might develop active citizens and improve the well-being of those in disadvantaged areas.
Source: Ines Newman, Reclaiming Local Democracy: A progressive future for local government, Policy Press
An article examined the notion of assemblage in the Welsh Government's approach to the management of local government policy. It said that there was evidence of important tensions in the Welsh approach: although the emphasis on the citizen had worked in building a 'political rationality', it worked less well as a 'government technology'.
Source: Valeria Guarneros-Meza, James Downe, Tom Entwistle, and Steve Martin, 'Putting the citizen at the centre? Assembling local government policy in Wales', Local Government Studies, Volume 40 Issue 1