Rethinking central local government relations in Scotland

Issued: Thu, 22 Feb 2007 00:00:00 GMT

Three leading University of Glasgow academics launch a new joint paper on local and central government reform next week (Wednesday 28 February).*

'Rethinking central local government relations in Scotland: Back to the Future?' published by the David Hume Institute, asks how best to distribute the different responsibilities of local and national government now that the Scottish Parliament and Executive are well established.

Co-author, Professor Jim Gallagher said: 'We reflect on the tortured history of relations between central and local government, and the new roles which elected politicians at national and local level might play in future in a devolved Scotland. And what would this mean for structure, scrutiny and finance?

'There are many options and real choices to be made. Do we want a radically localist future, or do we accept that the public want uniform access to key services through the country? What are the options for local finance, and, crucially, what is the best way to address the 'wicked issues' that still defeat our public services.

'We analyse these choices, and suggest one possible way forward: a new and wider role for local councillors, coupled with recognition that policy and funding choices for many services are in fact made at Holyrood.'

Jeremy Peat, Director of the David Hume Institute said: 'The David Hume Institute is delighted to publish this fascinating and important document. Policy for and efficient delvery of public services are crucial for all in Scotland. I commend the authors ideas for your serious consideration.'

*Co-authors Jim Gallagher, Ken Gibb and Carl Mills will be joined by the director of the David Hume Institute, Jeremy Peat and Trustees at the launch at 5.30pm on Wednesday 28 February in Room TG28 at the Scottish Parliament. Contact to reserve a place.

Martin Shannon (