During the 1990s, the structure of local government in Scotland and Wales was completely reorganized by Acts of Parliament. Under other legislation, and in response to recommendations from the Local Government Commission, there was a partial reorganisation in shire England. This is the only study which examines these reforms in one volume. Running through this study is the contrast between the rhetoric used to justify replacing counties and districts by new unitary authorities and the realities of local government.
The book reviews the reasons for the reforms, the processes and outcomes in the three countries, and the nature of the evidence which was available for the advantages and disadvantages of reorganisation. Two chapters compare the prior assessments with the actuality, and the final chapter discusses some important lessons for national governance.
This is the only study written by someone who was directly involved in the structural review, as a member of the Local Government Commission, and it combines this special experience with a wealth of information from many sources.
The book will be a key text for teachers and students of local government and also important for those studying public administration, government and politics at the second or third year undergraduate level. There should also be a wide readership in local government circles and among MPs and those concerned with public life.