Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Local government finance

Resourcing local government remains a central challenge to effective decentralisation. This section has content relating to different models of fiscal decentralisation, options for identifying new sources of local revenue, such as local property tax; and strategies for improving collection and deployment of own-source revenue. It also offers information about improving the borrowing potential of local government, innovative financing models such as municipal bonds, shared services, and public private partnerships.



Democratic Decentralization and Empowerment of Local Government Associations in Kerala

During the past decade the Indian state of Kerala has been successfully carrying out democratic decentralization, and has substantially transformed the functions of local governments in line with the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts, which institutionalised the local government system in India. In particular, formulation and implementation of micro plans with community participation has produced remarkable changes in the dynamics of local development and in the public management of local governments. This initiative for participatory planning at the local level taken by the government of Kerala enormously empowered local communities and the different actors in the local political system.

Author: N Ramakantan Publisher: university of Technology, Sydney Publication year: january 2009

The Smart and Simple Way to Empower the Public Sector

How can it be that people who should have the most fulfilling jobs in the world are generally far less engaged and productive than those we encounter in the private sector? The root causes, we believe, are organizational cultures that are strangled by rules. Myriad rules define the public-sector workplace—rules spelling out procedural red tape, layers of decision making, regulatory compliance, and employee safeguards. These rules are put in place for the best of reasons, such as to ensure fair hiring practices and prevent corruption, favoritism, and the influence of special interests. But as rules proliferate, they often congeal into inefficient, costly bureaucracies that slow decision making, stifle initiative, discourage cooperation, and frustrate employees.

Author: Jason LaBresh, Mark Watters, and Sachpreet Chandhoke Publisher: BCG Perspectives Publication year: 2017

Is Decentralization Good For Development?: Perspectives from Academics and Policy Makers

This book offers insights and lessons that help us understand when the answer is “Yes”, and when it is “No”. It shows us how decentralisation can be designed to drive development forward, and focuses attention on how institutional incentives can be created for governments to improve public sector performance and strengthen economies in ways that enhance citizen well-being. It also draws attention to the political motives behind decentralisation reforms and how these shape the institutions that result. The book's purpose is to marry policy makers’ detailed knowledge and insights about real reform processes with academics’ conceptual clarity and analytical rigor. This synthesis naturally shifts the analysis towards deeper questions of decentralization, stability and the strength of the State. The book explores these in Part 1, with deep studies of the effects of reform on state capacity, political and fiscal stability, and democratic inclusiveness in Bolivia, Pakistan, India, and Latin America more broadly. These complex questions—crucially important to policy makers but difficult to address with statistics—yield before a multipronged attack of quantitative and qualitative evidence combined with deep practitioner insight. How should reformers design decentralisation? Part 2 examines these issues with evidence from four decades of reform in developing and developed countries. What happens after reform is implemented? Decentralization and Local Service Provision turns to decentralization’s effects on health and education services, anti-poverty programs, etc. with original evidence from twelve countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Author: Jean-Paul Faguet and Caroline Pöschl Publisher: Oxford University Press Publication year: 2017

Challenging times for local government in Labor’s new federation

The Australian Labor Party went to the 2007 election promising a new era of cooperative federalism that would end the ‘blame game’ between federal and state governments and re-energise reform and productivity agendas. On the evidence of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting on 26 March 2008, these agendas are advancing rapidly. The communiqué foreshadowed a raft of new commonwealth-state agreements, streamlined arrangements for special purpose grants and, perhaps most significantly,


Author: Graham Sansom Publisher: University of Technology, Sydney Publication year: 2008

Current developments in New Zealand local government

August 2007 saw the release of 'Funding Local Government', the report of the Local Government Rates Inquiry (available at New Zealand local government has one of the world's most flexible rating (property tax) systems. Councils may choose between capital value, land value or annual (rental) value. Rates may be levied primarily as an ad valorem charge but councils may also use a variety of fixed charges. In addition they may levy a targeted rate or rates, which may be either a fixed amount or ad valorem, charged on a single property or category of properties to recover the cost of a specific service or services. Councils also have the power, in consultation with their communities, to adopt highly flexible postponement policies allowing people to defer, indefinitely, payment of rates. (Normally when this is done, councils take a first charge on the property and recover interest at their marginal cost of borrowing.)

Author: Peter McKinlay Publisher: University of Technology, Sydney Publication year: 2008

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