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Who leads? Councillor‐officer relations in local government overview and scrutiny committees in England and Wales

Rod Dacombe (Department of Political Economy, King's College London, London, UK)

International Journal of Leadership in Public Services

ISSN: 1747-9886

Article publication date: 17 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the implications of recent local government reform for political leadership in local authorities. In particular, it investigates the role played by local government officers in shaping and directing the work of politicians serving on overview and scrutiny committees.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on data from five case studies of local councils in England and Wales, the paper suggests that recent reform has done little to clarify decision making and leadership in local government.

Findings

The paper suggests that local councillors need to define their roles under the new system in order to reflect the changing requirements of their work.

Originality/value

The paper investigates the impact of the introduction of overview and scrutiny on the relations between councillors and local government officers. Research on leadership in local government is well established, but this literature needs updating in the light of recent reforms. The paper suggests a complex pattern of leadership in local democratic processes, and suggests that more work needs to be done to ensure that local councillors adapt to their new roles.

Keywords

Citation

Dacombe, R. (2011), "Who leads? Councillor‐officer relations in local government overview and scrutiny committees in England and Wales", International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 218-228. https://doi.org/10.1108/17479881111187042

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited