Local Pressure Groups: The Exercise of Influence
Most studies of local communities point to an extensive local pressure group universe. Newton, in an exhaustive study of Birmingham City Council in the 1960s, entitled his chapters on local pressure groups ‘The Politics of the Four Thousand’, reflecting the fact that he had identified no fewer than 4,264 local voluntary organisations in the city — at a time when, to take a rough and ready indicator, there were in the country as a whole less than a third of today’s total of registered charities. More recently, Bishop and Hoggett (1986) found extensive group networks even in small district councils. Our interest in this chapter, though, is not so much in the numbers of groups — a sizeable majority of whom, as in Newton’s study, will not be politically active on any regular basis — as in the influence of a minority of them on the making of local policy and the delivery of local services.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.