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Central-local partnership in Wales: the whole truth, a half truth or nothing like the truth?

Martin, Stephen James, Guarneros-Meza, Valeria, Downe, James Daniel and Entwhistle, Thomas Walter 2010. Central-local partnership in Wales: the whole truth, a half truth or nothing like the truth? Presented at: Political Studies Association Specialist Group Conference: British and Comparative Territorial Policies, Oxford, UK, 7-8 January 2010.

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Most recent accounts of central-local relations in the UK highlightincreased centralisation but policy makers in Wales have takenconsiderable pride in their adoption of an alternative ‘partnershipapproach’. They claim that in a close knit policy community, in whichthere are strong personal and professional links between key local andcentral actors, it is possible to develop and implement policies in aconsensual fashion based on shared objectives and mutual respect ratherthan command and control. Evidence from a series of elite interviewswith senior civil servants and the local government association paints amore complex and nuanced picture. It shows that different kinds of interaction occur in different services and at different stages in the policyprocess. Sometimes ministers seek to control local councils. On otheroccasions there is clear evidence of partnership. And in some instancesneither of these modes of interaction adequately describes the relationship.Some local services seem to enjoy considerable autonomy and in somesituations ministers have sought to influence local authorities byencouraging competition between them. Whilst the caricatures of ‘command and control’ and ‘partnership’ may serve a useful politicalpurpose, they are then only a part of the story. Future research mightusefully consider which of these and other modes of central-local relationsare best suited to different policy contexts and objectives.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Uncontrolled Keywords: human resource management
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2020 15:02

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