Book

Law, Politics, and Local Democracy

Ian Leigh

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780198256984
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681714 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198256984.001.0001
Law, Politics, and Local Democracy

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More than any other area of the British constitution, local government has undergone constant change over the past two decades. The Conservative legislation introducing compulsory competitive tendering, replacing rates with first the community charge and then the council tax, the structural reorganization of local councils (with the creation of unitary authorities), and the increasing emphasis on rights for users of local services have left an enduring legacy. The actions of some local authorities on the municipal left and the New Right have tested the legal limits of local democracy to the full. The new Labour government has initiated further changes with the ‘best value’ regime, the reform of executive structures, and by introducing elected mayors and cabinets in local authorities, and new powers for councils to become ‘community leaders’, working in partnership with other public, private, and voluntary bodies within their areas. Moreover, other aspects of the constitutional reform programme, especially devolution, have substantial implications for local government. This book assesses these and other developments in terms of the underlying questions they raise about the nature of local democracy and its legal recognition. The book considers the competing and legally interlocking claims of local representative democracy, financial accountability, and consumerism, and their implications for the governing structures of local authorities and for local electors, councillors, taxpayers, the users of local services, and council employees. Finally, it asks whether the legal shape and powers of local government fit it for the changing role it is now asked to play.

Keywords: local government; Conservatives; Labour; structural reorganization; New Right; community leaders; financial accountability; consumerism; local democracy; constitution

Book.  405 pages. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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Table of Contents

Local Democracy in Its Constitutional Setting in Law, Politics, and Local Democracy

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The Powers of Local Government in Law, Politics, and Local Democracy

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Financial Accountability in Law, Politics, and Local Democracy

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Consumer Accountability in Law, Politics, and Local Democracy

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Party Groups, Councillors, and the Law in Law, Politics, and Local Democracy

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Executive Structures in Law, Politics, and Local Democracy

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Officers and Politics in Law, Politics, and Local Democracy

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The Politics of Local Contracts in Law, Politics, and Local Democracy

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Local Government, Business, and Partnership in Law, Politics, and Local Democracy

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