A very stimulating paper on "the raging debate about the future of local government" from the National Local Government Network.
Here are a couple of highlights:
Political theorists argue that we are seeing a move from hierarchical power, in which councillors can use their position to demand that something be done, to a form of networked power in which politicians must work with and through others.
This shift is a very real challenge both to politics as a whole, and to the culture and behaviour of individual politicians. Surveys of councillors often come to the unsurprising conclusion that they get into politics to take decisions as part of a group of like-minded representatives. The idea that they are there to share decision-making power with citizens often seems completely counter-intuitive.
We might well be doing the right thing when we put customer services and citizen outcomes front and centre, but at the same time we risk debasing political language and turning our politicians into little more than elected service managers.
The think tank warns that if councils do not lead the process of change, then it could be done to them by disgruntled electorates.
Future Councillors: Where next for local politics?
New Local Government Network » New Local Government Network
Thanks to Cllr Claire Wright:
Claire Wright - Your Independent East Devon District Councillor for Ottery Rural
See also: Futures Forum: Policy-makers and the Public
Futures Forum: The Knowledge