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					Local Government in England
    Gobierno local en el Reino Unido


               Chris Game
   Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV),
          University of Birmingham, ENGLAND
               c.h.game@bham.ac.uk


‘Gobierno municipal en el Reino Unido: Londres’
          Madrid – 25 November 2009
   CITY OF BIRMINGHAM
     o UK’s second city
     o 160 kms NW of London
     o Population: 1 million




   Metropolitan West Midlands
    (above):
    7 councils; 2.6 million
   West Midlands region:
    33 councils; 5.3 million
    (equivalent to autonomous community?)
                  THEME
   3 key aspects of UK/English local
      government …
   that play a large part in determining how the
      system works …
   and that have all recently undergone – or
      (finance) should have undergone – change:
     1. Scale and structure
     2. Finance
     3. Political management
                                       But first …
Why won’t Madrid be friends with the British?
    35 Twin and Sister cities …and not one in the UK!
Scale and structure
         Spain and the UK compared

                         EU 27            Spain                UK
Area                   4.4 mill km²       506,000            244,000
                                           12%                 6%
Population             500 million       45 million        61 million
                                            9%                12%
GDP (Producto         €12,340 billion   €1,051 billion   €2,047 billion
Bruto Interno)                               9%              17%
1st/most local tier      91,316             8,111              406
of sub-national       municipalities    municipalities   district/borough/
government                                   9%          unitary councils
                                                              0.44%
Municipalities                              7,672               0
< 10,000 pop.                               95%                0%
                The exceptional SCALE
               of UK ‘local’ government
   UK population = 61 million
    England = 51 m, Scotland = 5 m, Wales = 3 m, Northern Ireland 1.7 m.

   Mixed/hybrid system of local government:
     – UNITARY (all-purpose) authorities in:
       Wales (22), Scotland (32), metropolitan England (36), and
       non-metropolitan England (46  56 in 2009)
     – TWO-TIER authorities in London (33 + 1) and
       non-metropolitan England:
       34 County Councils  28; 238 District Councils 201

   2009 UK total = 435 principal councils
                  = 138,000 persons per council
Structure and scale of European local government

              Pop.    Number of 1st tier/         Average     Av.     Tiers of
              (m.)   most local authorities       populat.   size    sub-cent.       Regions
                                                             kms²    governm’t

France        64     36,783 Communes                1,730      15       3        22 Régions

Spain         45      8,111 Municipios              5,530      60       3        17 Comunidades

Germany       82     12,379 Gemeinden               6,600      30       2/3      16 Länder

Italy         59      8,100 Comuni                  7,320      40       3        20 Regioni

Belgium       11        589 Gemeenten              18,000      50       3        3 Regions

Sweden         9        290 Kommuner               31,500    1,550      2
Netherlands   16        443 Gemeenten              37,000      80       2        12 Provinces

Denmark        6         98 Kommuner               56,000     440       2        5 Regioner



UK            61        433   (All authorities)   140,000     562       1/2      3 ‘regions’
        Differing approaches to ‘efficiency’
           Mergers or inter-municipal co-operation –
 e.g. France’s 3,000+ communautés, Spain’s mancomunidades, consorcios?


               Number of municipalities       Largest     Smallest
                                               pop.        pop.      AVERAGE
             1950      2007        % change
Denmark      1,391            98     -93       504,000      2,058      56,000
UK           2,061         433       -79      1,006,500    25,700     140,000
Belgium      2,669         589       -78       464,000         84      18,000
Germany     24,156      12,340       -49      3,395,000          5      6,600
Spain        9,214       8,111       -12      3,129,000          6      5,500
France      38,000      36,783        -3      2,125,000          0      1,730
Portugal       303         308        +2       520,000        461      35,500
Italy        7,781       8,101        +4      2,547,000        33       7,320
            How the 2-tier system works -
               English Counties and Districts
   NOT hierarchical - each level of council is responsible for
       different types of service
   COUNTIES have large-scale and strategic services
    e.g. School education         social services    strategic planning
         transportation, roads    waste disposal
   DISTRICTS have smaller-scale, more local services
    e.g. housing               street cleaning & lighting
         leisure centres, swimming pools, parks
         waste collection      local planning
   Local government is NOT responsible for:
       social benefits; personal health and hospitals;
       public utilities – water, gas, electricity
   Counties spend 4x as much as districts,
       BUT districts collect the only local (property) tax
 Note the ‘big spending’ services –
mostly provided by the counties in a 2-tier structure
Local finance
  The UK: a larger public sector than Spain,
and a much larger LOCAL government sector
     – but very weak tax-raising powers
                       Total public     Local government
                       expenditure        expenditure         Local taxes
                       $US      % GDP    % public     % GDP    as % GDP
                      billion           expenditure
Denmark                 138      53         63         32         17
France                1,144      54         21         11         5
            Länder                          28         12
Germany               1,304      47                               13
            Local                           16         7
Italy                   851      48         31         15         7
          Com. Aut.                         39         15
Spain                   431      38                               11
          Local                             16         6
Sweden                  203      57         44         25         16
UK                      996      45         29         13         2
UK local authorities have only one local tax – COUNCIL TAX –
  which accounts for only 4% of total government revenue.
     So, of every £1 of tax we pay, 96 pence goes first to
                       central government.
But it is the MOST VISIBLE and
        UNPOPULAR 4%!
 Sources of a council’s current income:
only 16% from Council Tax – a banded property tax,
  set by the council, but within limits set by central
       government for each individual council
  Why the Council Tax is unpopular
        and needs reforming
1. REGRESSIVE – the actual rate of tax falls as the
       value of the property rises. The tax on a house
       worth £1 million in 1991 is only 3x the tax of the
       poorest property.
2. It is not related to a person’s ABILITY TO PAY.
3. NO REVALUATION of property since 1991, despite
     a huge increase in property prices.
4. GEARING EFFECT – if a council wants to increase
     expenditure by 1%, it has to increase its Council
     Tax by around 5%, because all other sources of
     income are fixed or controlled by central
     government.
 Comprehensive
  Performance
Assessment (CPA)
     Large scale + central control =
    Comprehensive Performance Assessment


   If a central government has only 355 English
        local authorities to deal with, and …
   already controls their individual budgets and
       local taxes …
   it is not surprising when it chooses also to
         monitor and assess each council’s
         performance in a similarly centralist way.
 Comprehensive Performance Assessment
                         (2002-09)

 By means of centrally collected information
       concerning the quality of their key services and
       their corporate capacity …
 every council would receive a single summary
     ranking of its total performance, and of its ability
     to improve local services:
          from 4 stars () to 0 stars.
 Top-performing councils would be ‘rewarded’ with
     various ‘freedoms and flexibilities’.
 Poor-performers would be ‘assisted’ in formulating
    and implementing a recovery plan.
So Birmingham City Council, with 50,000 employees
 providing hundreds of different services, is given a
    single ‘comprehensive assessment’ of 2 stars
Political organisation
  and management
Until recently, all UK councils made policy and took
decisions through COMMITTEE SYSTEMS like this
      The ‘traditional’ Committee System
   No directly elected executive.
   The FULL COUNCIL was the formal policy making body
        for the local authority. All councillors, therefore, were
        both POLICY MAKERS and REPRESENTATIVES.
   Most policies were determined in COMMITTEES of
       councillors, meeting in public, and advised by
       officers.
   No individual councillor – not even the Leader of the
        Council or the Chair of a committee – had personal
        executive (decision-taking) authority.
   HOWEVER … the 1997 Labour Government felt that
      this lack of a clearly visible executive was
      CONFUSING for the public and LACKED
      ACCOUNTABILITY.
‘New’ political management structures
            Local Government Act, 2000

   The committee system would be replaced by an
        EXECUTIVE-BASED system, with councillors
        having individual executive responsibilities
   All councillors in future would be:
         either EXECUTIVE or NON-EXECUTIVE
   All major councils were to choose 1 of 3 EXECUTIVE
         MODELS, preferably based on a DIRECTLY
         ELECTED MAYOR
   All councils were to develop an improved system of
         OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY for non-executive
         councillors.
        London was the first town or city to elect a mayor,
when in 2000 the Government reintroduced city-wide government:
      a directly elected Mayor and a 24-member Assembly.
     The first Mayor was KEN LIVINGSTONE (2000-08).
In the 3rd London Mayoral Election, May 2008,
Livingstone was defeated by BORIS JOHNSON, who became
         London’s first Conservative elected mayor
Birmingham’s Leader-based executive structure
                + resemblances to Madrid?
             Executive/Cabinet … Executive Board
    Overview & Scrutiny committees … Comisiones Ordinarias
        Regulatory committees … Comisiones Especiales
Birmingham councillors chose not to have a directly elected mayor.
  So did all other major cities and most towns. We still therefore
   have only 12 elected mayors, including the Mayor of London:
     3 London boroughs, 2 metropolitan boroughs, 4 unitaries, 2 districts –
         none, except for the Greater London Authority, over 300,000
But if a Conservative Government is elected,
this situation could change completely …



Tories propose more city mayors
The Conservatives say 12 of England's biggest cities outside
London will get a vote on bringing in directly elected mayors if
they win power.

Referendums would be held on a single day in cities
including Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester,
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Sheffield and Liverpool.
Conservative Party Green Paper on Returning Power to Local Communities, February 2009
 Eso es todo amigos!
Gracias por su atención

				
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