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The blended separation of powers and the organisation of party groups: the case of English local government

Ewbank, Mark (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

In the Local Government Act 2000, central government mandated a change in political arrangements within English local authorities. Through introducing a blended separation of powers to the majority of local authorities, with a leader, cabinet and overview and scrutiny committees, the legislation moved the constitutional structure from a form of assembly government to a Westminster-style split between decision-makers and those who scrutinise those choices. One of the goals was to remove the party group grip on decision-making. Given the evidence of the strength of groups in authorities (Maud 1967, Widdicombe 1986, Copus 1999a) there are questions but no clear answers about how group behaviour has changed since this legislation (OPDM, 2002, Ashworth 2003, Copus & Leach, 2004, ELGNCE, 2004, 2006). This research assesses the impact of the change on major political parties. Due to the shift in the institutional environments, this thesis uses a rational choice institutionalist approach to consider how the legislation has affected groups; through assessing methods used to satisfice their goals. Using a mixed-methods approach incorporating survey research and case studies, the research has discovered that despite the reform to remove group influence, the legislation served to make local government more prone to domination by party groups.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Coulson, Andrew (1944-) and Copus, Colin
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Department of Local Government Studies
Subjects:JS Local government Municipal government
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1556
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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