New Century Local Government: Commonwealth Perspectives

Gareth Wall


Abstract

This ambitious and highly informative volume is premised on both the seismic shift in the perceived developmental role of local government across the globe, and the challenges that local governments will face as their key role in achieving the post-2015 sustainable development goals is increasingly being recognised within the global policy fora. New Century Local Government brings together an impressively wide geographic spread of country case studies from across the four regions of the Commonwealth, and pulls together work by leading scholars of local government who are all members of the Commonwealth Local Government Research Advisory Group (CLGF-RAG). It provides a plethora of detailed country case studies arranged around three themes: decentralisation in the Caribbean, Pakistan and England, local government finance and local economic development in India, South Africa and Tanzania, and new approaches to governance in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Not only do the papers provide detailed accounts of the changes in policy and practice within their focus country cases – but many of them, notably the papers by Brown, Reid, McKinlay and Sansom include a comparative perspective with developments from Commonwealth countries in other regions, which is one of the key strengths of the volume. It is also the raison d’être of comparative work across the countries of the Commonwealth, given the shared legal and administrative histories and the dominance of English as the academic and often administrative lingua franca. It would have been great to see more of the cross-regional and cross-country lessons being drawn out from across the contributions in a final concluding chapter, but the editors leave this to the reader – possibly to ensure they read the volume in full.

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