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Partnership and statutory local governance in a devolved Scotland

Michael Carley (School of the Built Environment, Heriot‐Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 1 April 2006




Partnership has become a primary organisational tool for achieving overlapping policy agendas in local governance. But evidence shows that partnerships underachieve if they are not integrated into, and supported by, mainstream governance structures. Now recent legislation, the Local Government in Scotland Act (2003), sets out the intention of better integration of partnership into local governance. The Act establishes a statutory duty for institutional stakeholders to engage with communities in “community planning” to improve services and to meet community aspirations. This paper sets out to explore key issues to arise in the implementation of the Act.


The analysis is based on key informant interviews in three Scottish local authorities carried out in 2004 and 2005.


The research finds varying degrees of integration between governance structures and community planning, depending on the commitment, history and implementation of local government modernisation. Local authorities at the leading edge of modernisation are the most innovative in community planning and also demonstrate commitment to partnership working.

Practical implications

Because of its statutory basis, the lessons of the implementation of community planning are relevant to a wide variety of local governance structures and partnership initiatives.


The paper reports on the first systematic study of the implementation of a policy initiative in integrated local governance.



Carley, M. (2006), "Partnership and statutory local governance in a devolved Scotland", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 250-260.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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