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Introduction — Our Aims and Approach

  • David Wilson
  • Chris Game
Chapter
Part of the Government Beyond the Centre book series (GBC)

Abstract

In July 1996 an important report about UK local government was published by an all-party House of Lords Select Committee, chaired by Lord Hunt of Tanworth. We refer to its recommendations in Chapter 7. As such committees do, it received a lot of written evidence from concerned individuals and relevant organisations and then questioned in person a variety of expert witnesses. One of these witnesses was Professor John Stewart, to whom we pay tribute in our Preface. He introduced himself to the Committee with the following remarks:

‘Reading some reports of your evidence, I get the impression that some people have been saying that local government is a dull world. I can quite understand that, if you are looking at the national world of local government — because, once you reduce local government to a uniform view, it is rather a dull world.’

‘I have had the good fortune to visit 300 local authorities over the last few years, interviewing leaders and chief executives, and what impresses me is the excitement of local government. It is the excitement of how one authority differs from another, because of the nature of the area, and because of the quality of the leadership. I am impressed too by the extent of innovation that has been taking place, sometimes in response to government legislation, but sometimes by the local authorities themselves. It is very exciting … to see city or town leaders wrestling with tremendous urban problems. I do not want you to get the impression that the world of local authorities is dull.’

(House of Lords, 1996, Vol. II, pp. 461–62 — our emphasis)

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Copyright information

© David Wilson and Chris Game 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Wilson
  • Chris Game

There are no affiliations available

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