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The joy of joining up: modes of integrating the local government modernisation agenda

Cowell, Richard John Westley ORCID: and Martin, Stephen James ORCID: 2003. The joy of joining up: modes of integrating the local government modernisation agenda. Environment and Planning C Government and Policy 21 (2) , pp. 159-179. 10.1068/c0135

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Since 1997, local government in the United Kingdom has found itself at the sharp end of an ambitious programme of potentially far-reaching reforms known collectively as the 'local government modernisation agenda' (LGMA). These initiatives are intended to promote 'joined-up government' and holistic service delivery -- two of the hallmarks of New Labour's approach to public service improvement. To date there has been very little analysis of the ways in which local authorities are approaching this task at a corporate level. The authors examine the theory and practice of joining up policymaking and service delivery in local government. They draw upon an analysis of the perspectives of key actors involved in the formulation and implementation of current local government reforms at the national level and the experiences of a sample of authorities that have been among the most active in seeking to integrate the various elements of the LGMA at local level. The evidence suggests that the superficially attractive logic of more integrated policymaking and service provision, which runs so strongly through current reforms, belies the multidimensional nature of joined-up working. The presentation of the LGMA as a coherent package of reforms therefore disguises the degree to which different forms of joining up may conflict. In particular, the push for closer vertical integration between local and central government, with ever-tighter control being exerted from the centre over priorities and performance, is seen as constraining progress towards more effective horizontal joined-up working at a local level.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Additional Information: Richard Cowell and Steve Martin, 2003. The definitive, peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Environment and Planning C, 21, 2, 159-179, 2003, 10.1068/c0135
Publisher: Pion
ISSN: 14723425
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 22:25

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