Who Makes Policy?
The last three chapters have looked at three of the key elements in a local council’s policy making process: elected councillors, the professional officers who advise them, and the political parties and party groups of which most of them are members. We turn now to the end-product of the process, as presented for example in Figure 14.1 — the actual formulation and determination of policy. We know from several of the chapters in Part 1 that much of the framework, and especially the financial framework, of local government policy nowadays is laid down by central government. But we have also seen how local authorities can still determine their own spending priorities, respond to specific local circumstances, and launch their own policy initiatives. Our concern in this chapter is therefore mainly with the internal, rather than external, influences on policy-making, with the internal politics of the town or county hall.
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