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Governance and Accountability in the Modern Local Authority: An Exploratory Analysis of Views From Inside and Out - With Particular Reference to Outsourcing and Partnership Working

Strickland, Alex (2015) Governance and Accountability in the Modern Local Authority: An Exploratory Analysis of Views From Inside and Out - With Particular Reference to Outsourcing and Partnership Working. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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Abstract

This thesis seeks to understand just what governance looks like to practitioners themselves and how it works in practice. It recognises the need for modern executive and political leaders to provide strong place shaping leadership, in a context where resources are tight, outsourcing is viewed as a means to an end and joint working is considered essential to deliver complex cross-cutting policy objectives. As such, it will appeal to the wider local government community.

The departure point for the thesis is the crisis of social democracy identified as 'overload' in the mid 1970s and the New Right policy prescription of privatisation/marketisation proposed to resolve that. the subsequent hollowing out of the state together with the interlinked nature of public policy (and the introduction of changing governance forms such as combined authorities) only served to made governance landscape even more complex.

The thesis uses interpretive methodology to conduct a thematic analysis of governance and accountability using two in depth case studies in which elected members and officials have participated. the thesis makes a contribution to knowledge by concluding that Governance has three strands to it - Place Shaping, Service Delivery and Community Leadership. It is considered complex for a number of reasons ranging from layered reform and incremental policy making on the one hand to the need to work in partnership to achieve complex public policy objectives on the other.

Notwithstanding recent reforms, the architecture of governance in the UK remains highly centralised. This has an adverse impact on economic performance. Devolution of powers and funding to local authorities that have the capacity to cope with them, should be coupled with Institutional reforms to create a strategic level of governance designed to facilitate infrastructure provision, economic renewal and joined up public service delivery.

Keeping these arrangements accountable is of central importance and it is concluded that this requires as a minimum, the effective operation of the statutory Scrutiny function. This requires that elected members are provided with a toolkit in the form of a positive operating culture, appropriate statutory powers and sufficient funding. In addition however, there is a need to consider how to broaden democratic engagement with a view to increasing levels of political participation, so as to develop a more active notion of citizenship going forward.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Schools: The Business School
Depositing User: Elizabeth Boulton
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2016 16:03
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2016 13:57
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/26898

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