Law, Politics, and Local Democracy

Hardcover | October 1, 2000

byIan Leigh

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More than any other area of the 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 structuralreorganization 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 democracyto 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 otherpublic, private, and voluntary bodies within their areas. Moreover, other aspects of the constitutional reform programme, especially devolution, have substantial implications for local government. This new study 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 andconsumerism 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 nowasked to play.

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More than any other area of the 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 structuralreorganization of local councils (with the creation o...

Ian Leigh is Professor of Law at the University of Durham. Before returning to academic life he practised as a solicitor with a large district council. He is co-author (with Professor Laurence Lustgarten) of In the Cold: National Security and Parliamentary Democracy (Clarendon Press, 1994) and has written extensively on public law an...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:405 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.02 inPublished:October 1, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198256981

ISBN - 13:9780198256984

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Table of Contents

PART I: Legal and Political Foundations1. Local Democracy in its Constitutional Setting2. The Powers of Local GovernmentPart II: Accountability to the Public3. Information, Public Participation, and Accountability4. Financial Accountability5. Consumer AccountabilityPART: III: Political Leadership and Decision-Making6. Party Groups, Councillors, and the Law7. Executive Structures8. Officers and PoliticsPart IV: The Council in the Community9. Politics and Contracts10. Local Government, Business, and partnership11. Conclusion: The New Local Government

Editorial Reviews

`This is an ambitious but timely project given the immense changes that have recently taken place, that fully reflects Leigh's obvious encyclopedic knowledge of local government law. This is a significant piece of scholarship that adds to the growing corpus of knowledge on the interface ofpolitical institutions and public law.'Democratization, Vol. 8, No. 4