Introduction and Summary

There are many possible options to choose from when thinking about reform of local government.

In trying to choose between these, it is important to think about what we want from local government. We can then have a set of criteria to use in judging different options.

The papers in this set explore three broad criteria:

  1. The first paper explores the idea of democracy. If we want local government to be democratic, we will be concerned with issues of representation, accountability and local autonomy.
  2. The second paper looks at the quality and efficiency of public services. Quality and efficiency might be affected by the size of local government areas and whether it is possible to coordinate different bodies with different responsibilities.
  3. The third paper looks at prosperity and other aspects of well-being. The current government’s policies on decentralisation in England focus heavily on economic development, but other aspects of well-being matter as well.

There are many possible criteria for judging local government arrangements.

Criteria for Judging Options