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.



Political actor or policy instrument? Governance challenges in Australian local government

This article examines the governance challenges facing Australian local government, which include lack of constitutional standing, intergovernmental dependencies, financial constraints and weak democratic standing. The historical context has shaped the nature and place of local government in the Australian federal polity and has contributed to the tensions created by an expansion of the roles and responsibilities of local government, especially in the provision of services, which is not matched by concomitant increases in financial capacity and local autonomy. These governance challenges are discussed with a view to establishing local government’s capacity for autonomous self-governance in the face of intergovernmental and fiscal dependencies, and the implications of this for local government reform trajectories.

Author: Nicola Brackertz Publisher: University of Technology Sydney Press Publication year: 2013

Role of the land valuation division in property rating by district assemblies in Ghana's Upper East Region

District Assemblies in Ghana are charged with the responsibility of developing their areas of jurisdiction mainly through internally mobilised revenue. As a consequence, the assemblies are empowered by various pieces of legislation to impose local taxes within their jurisdiction. The local taxes include property rates which are a form of tax that only the District Assemblies may levy. The study therefore looked at the levying of property rates in the Upper East Region and assessed the role and institutional capacity of the Land Valuation Division of the Lands Commission in the tax administration. Findings included limited coverage of the tax, use of flat rates due to absence of up-to-date property values, inadequate technical personnel and logistics for the Land Valuation Division (LVD) and lack of political will to levy the rates fully. Relevant suggestions are made, such as the need to introduce mass valuation, widen the tax coverage, establish a fund for revaluation and revive the Valuation Training School, as well as provide requisite logistics for efficient performance of the LVD.

Author: Maxwell Kwotua Petio Publisher: University of Technology Sydney Press Publication year: 2013

Local government finance in Ghana: disbursement and utilisation of the MPs share of the District Assemblies Common Fund

The establishment of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) in 1993 and concomitant percentage set aside for Members of Parliament (MPs) in 2004 aims to support local governments and legislators in pro-poor development activities in their communities and constituencies. In spite of the importance of the MPs’ share of the District Assemblies Common Fund (MPsCF) in financing local level development in Ghana, very little is known about monitoring systems and procedures on the disbursement and utilization of the funds. The study therefore assessed qualitative data derived from interviews with officials from selected Local Government Authorities (LGAs) as well as other key stakeholders in the disbursement and utilization of the fund. The study findings point to the absence of legislative instrument on the management of the MPsCF. Further, monitoring of the fund was a responsibility shared by the LGAs and other external stakeholders. Finally, the effectiveness of monitoring the disbursement and utilization of the MPsCF was strongly influenced by the relationship between the Chief Executive of the Local Government Authority (LGCE) and MPs in the local government area.

Author: Nana Nimo Appiah-Agyekum Publication year: 2013

New CLGF four-year grant to help local government service delivery and boost CLGF’s research capacity

The UK Department for International Development (UK AID) has agreed £4.5 million funding for a four-year CLGF programme to improve governance and service delivery at local level in several areas of the Commonwealth including Africa and Asia from 2012-16. It will also help to support national policy frameworks for local government service delivery, and increase engagement of local government in regional policy planning and implementation. CLGF will continue to work with its members, UN partners and others to mobilise more resources towards the support of local government in the Commonwealth. The new programme will focus on local government pilot projects in LED, supporting ministries and local government associations in strengthening their national policy making for local government, and establish regional forums to enable local government to engage in and influence regional policy making to reflect the needs and priorities of local government. It will also boost CLGF’s research capacity with targeted research to strengthen CLGF’s policy making and advocacy, including more sustained engagement in international policy debates on key issues affecting local government, such as climate change.

Author: Lucy Slack, Susan Rhodes Publisher: University of Technology Sydney Press Publication year: 2012

Rural municipal development and reform in Canada: policy learning through local - provincial collaboration

In a federated country like Canada, diversity challenges universal policy prescriptions for local governments. The success of its provincial governments, which have exclusive jurisdiction for systems of local government, depends on balancing the need to act comprehensively and systematically while dealing thoughtfully with the unique situation of individual local governments. Canada’s provinces are shifting their approach to strengthening rural governance – shifting away from more directive interventions and now seeking to facilitate capacity-building in a manner that is less state-centred, more bottom-up, and better adapted to variable local circumstances. A dialogue was organised to focus on this shift in provincial practice. It brought together more than 50 savvy and influential policy practitioners representing all provinces and most local government associations at the provincial level. Practice recommendations emerged for provinces, local government associations, and local governments focusing on concrete actions and tools but also on the potential for redefining the roles played by, and relations between, the associations and provincial governments.

Author: John Martin, Gary Paget, Brian Walisser Publisher: University of Technology Sydney Press Publication year: 2012

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