By David Wilson, Chris Game
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Extra info for Local Government in the United Kingdom
Yet central government's instinct is to focus on the relatively few similarities of such authorities and to play down their obvious contrasts. Ministers and civil servants struggle to devise formulae that will enable all these councils to be dealt with as a single group. A thriving local government does the reverse. It emphasises and gives voice and expression to the distinctiveness of local communities. It is the government of difference or of diversity. 0 Fostering innovation and learning By responding to diverse local circumstances and acting as the government of difference, local authorities are almost bound to enhance the 34 Local Government: The Basics learning capacity of government.
2). But necessarily these things take time and need encouragement, both of which have been at a premium in recent years. We contrasted in Chapter 2 the kind of 'bottom-up' local self-government found in some European countries, which grew out of local communities coming together for mutual help and support, and the UK's more 'top-down' version, deriving from parliamentary statute and the drawing of boundary lines on maps. The inevitable danger of over-frequent 'top-down' restructuring is the severing of any link between a local authority and community 32 Local Government: The Basics identity, the most visible sign of which must be the imposition of alien council names that at best bewilder and at worst infuriate.
2; Young, 1986b). 1. It is a grouping derived from a long-standing and at times complex theoretical debate, further details of which may be followed up by use of our references in the Bibliography. Why Elected Local Government? 1 The values or justifications of elected local government Elected local government is likely to be better than a combination of central government and local administration at: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Building and articulating community identity Emphasising diversity Fostering innovation and learning Responding swiftly, appropriately, corporately Promoting citizenship and participation Providing political education and training Dispersing power.