The Organisation of Local Government

  • Bruce Wood
  • Edward Page
  • Des McConaghy
  • Robin Simpson


Generalising about local government is difficult if not dangerous. Not far short of 100,000 men and women serve as elected councillors on nearly 8,000 councils in England and Wales. They are responsible for employing 2,800,000 staffs and for spending £1 in every £3 spent by ‘government’ in its broadest sense (including nationalised industries and public corporations as well as Whitehall ministries). Each local authority is, to some extent, unique. Some are rural, others suburban or urban. There are rich areas and poor; seaside resorts and steel or mining towns; new towns and historic cities; Conservative or Labour dominated areas and districts which still reject ‘party polities’; and so on.


Local Government Local Authority Rate Support District Council District Election 
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Further Reading

  1. The Reformed Local Government System by P.G. Richards (Allen & Unwin, revised 3rd edition, 1978).Google Scholar
  2. Documents on Contemporary British Government, Vol 2: Local Government in Britain edited by Martin Minogue (Cambridge University Press, 1977).Google Scholar
  3. A Consumer’s Guide to Local Government edited by Martin Minogue (Macmillan Press for the NCC, 1977).Google Scholar
  4. Understanding Local Government by J. Stanyer (Fontana, 1976).Google Scholar
  5. English Local Government Reformed by Lord Redcliffe-Maud and Bruce Wood (Oxford University Press, 1974).Google Scholar
  6. James Kellas’ The Scottish Political System (London; Cambridge University Press, 1975) offers a useful introduction to Scottish politics with a brief section on local government.Google Scholar
  7. Ronald Young’s The Search for Democracy (Glasgow; Heatherbank Press, 1977) raises some interesting questions about the functioning of the Scottish local government system.Google Scholar
  8. John Bochel and David Denver regularly produce analyses and interpretations of local elections in Scotland, the first of which was The Scottish Local Elections of 1974 (Edinburgh; Scottish Academic Press, 1975). Certain questions concerning local authority finance in Scotland are dealt with by the Committee of Inquiry into Local Government Finance’s Report (the Layfield Report, Cmnd 6453, London; HMSO, 1976) while the Appendices to that Report contain valuable comments on the process of local government from the local authority associations and central government. For those interested in keeping abreast of local government affairs, the coverage and feature articles devoted to Scottish local government by David Scott in the Scotsman newspaper are an indispensable source. Three institutions are of particular interest since they publish reports and papers on Scottish local government; the Planning Exchange (186 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4HG); the Local Government Research Unit (Paisley College of Technology, Paisley PA1 2BE); and the Centre for the Study of Public Policy (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow Gl 1XQ).Google Scholar
  9. The main official source of information about local government matters in Scotland is: The Scottish Development Department, New St. Andrew’s House, St. James Centre, Edinburgh 1.Google Scholar
  10. Local Government Finance (Green Paper), Cmnd 6813 (HMSO, 1977).Google Scholar
  11. Report of the Committee of Enquiry into Local Government Finance (Layfield Report), Cmnd 6453 (HMSO, 1976).Google Scholar
  12. Means Tested Benefits (National Consumer Council, 1976).Google Scholar
  13. Why the Poor Pay More edited by Frances Williams (Macmillan Press Limited for the National Consumer Council, 1977).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. To Him Who Hath by Frank Field, Molly Meacher and Chris Pond (Penguin, 1977).Google Scholar
  15. ‘The distribution of RSG: the hows and whys of the new needs formula’ by Richard Jackman and Mary Sellers in Centre for Environmental Studies Review, no. 1, 1977Google Scholar
  16. A Classifaction of the English Personal Social Service Authorities by V. Imber (HMSO, 1977).Google Scholar
  17. Financial General and Rating Statistics 1979–80 (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, 1979).Google Scholar
  18. The Finance of Local Government by N.P. Hepworth (Allen & Unwin, 4th edition, 1978).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© National Consumer Council 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Wood
  • Edward Page
  • Des McConaghy
  • Robin Simpson

There are no affiliations available

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