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

Ewbank, Mark (2011). The blended separation of powers and the organisation of party groups: the case of English local government. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Institute of Local Government Studies
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Subjects: J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government


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