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.

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New Century Local Government: Commonwealth Perspectives

Democratic decentralisation through ‘conventional’ institutions of local government is facing increasing challenges, whether from financial pressures, questions of representativeness, difficult central-local relations and from a perhaps growing belief that local government has failed to realise its potential and there may be better ways of achieving societal goals. It is clear there is need to contemplate quite radical change to ensure local government becomes or remains ‘fit for purpose’. This collection of papers illustrates the way in which the role of local government is evolving in different parts of the Commonwealth and provides practical examples of new local government at work. It showcases emerging practice, and highlights success stories from new ways of working and challenges confronting local government in both developed and developing countries. New Century Local Government makes a very valuable contribution to helping understand the changing role of local government, and will ensure that practitioners are up-to-date with the most innovative initiatives in local government planning and administration.

Author: Graham Sansom and Peter McKinley Publisher: Commonwealth Secretariat Publication year: 2016


Sedibeng District Municipality assisted in achieving a clean audit for two years running

All activities of local government in South Africa are tightly regulated. There are numerous Acts governing how municipalities need to run operations. Municipalities are challenged by not having effective and efficient systems, tools, and processes to support managing their operations. This ultimately impacts on their ability to being able to effectively and timeously monitor their performance against their annual plans. However, the Sedibeng District Municipality was on a manual system that had a negative impact on its effectiveness and productivity. Sedibeng therefore needed to implement a performance management system that would comply with South African legislative requirements. The municipality went on an open tender and awarded the project to Microsoft partner Vision Activ that specialises in performance management solutions for both the corporate and public sectors.

Author: Microsoft CityNext Publisher: Microsoft CityNext Publication year: 2016


Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers in Developing Countries Case Studies from the Commonwealth

Despite growing fiscal devolution, efficient and effective intergovernmental transfers – the transfer of money from central to lower levels of government – remain a vital sub-national government financing in developing countries. This research study examines different approaches to intergovernmental transfers (ICTs) in developing countries in the Commonwealth, and assesses their relative strengths and weaknesses. It includes detailed case studies of India and Kenya, lessons learned from IGT systems in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Author: Munawwar Alam Publisher: Commonwealth Secretariat Publication year: 2014


Local democracy and local governance: benchmarking Rwanda against the Aberdeen principles

The purpose of the study was to carry out an assessment of local democracy and local governance through benchmarking Aberdeen principles on the local government system in Rwanda to appreciate the achievements and establish gaps and suggest appropriate recommendations for future improvement. As laid in the terms of reference, the study was guided by research questions for each of the 12 principles, which include, Constitutional and legal recognition for local democracy, political freedom to elect local representatives, partnership and cooperation between spheres of government, defined legislative framework, citizens participation in local decision making, open local government – accountability, open local government – transparency, scrutiny of the executive, inclusiveness, adequate and equitable resource allocation, equitable services viii and capacity building for effective leadership. The said Aberdeen principles were used to analyse and assess Rwanda’s local government system vis a vis the Aberdeen principles. In terms of methodology, the study employed extensive desk research, analysing local democracy and local governance structures, systems policies and processes in Rwanda. Evidence was collected and collated through wide-ranging literature review with limited field research.

Author: Aimable Kabanda Publisher: CLGF, RALGA Publication year: 2013


Resource guide on decentralisation and local government

This resource guide provides practical guidance for designing, implementing and evaluating decentralisation reforms and local government practices to ensure they are as effective as possible. It also synthesises and presents current debates on the impact of decentralisation and local government on poverty reduction, service delivery and conflict as well as providing links to cutting-edge research and recent case studies.

Author: Zoe Scott and Munawwar Alam Publisher: Commonwealth Secretariat Publication year: 2011


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