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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2017

Dimu Ehalaiye, Nives Botica-Redmayne and Fawzi Laswad

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the financial determinants of local government debt in New Zealand.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the financial determinants of local government debt in New Zealand.

Design/methodology/approach

To investigate the financial determinants of local government debt in New Zealand, the authors analyse the relationship between key financial variables with local government debt in New Zealand based on the theories of fiscal accountability and moral hazard using a panel data methodology, specifically the pooled ordinary least squares regression model.

Findings

The findings suggest that council income is the major financial determinant of local government borrowing in New Zealand rather than infrastructural spending and that during the global financial crises (GFC) borrowing levels of New Zealand local councils was not significantly impacted. However, the findings indicate that post the GFC, low interest rates have stimulated increased borrowing activity by New Zealand local governments to fund infrastructure.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to examine the determinants of local government debt in New Zealand. The findings of this study contribute to better understanding of local government/municipality debt in New Zealand and internationally by providing evidence on the financial determinants of debt of local governments and the indirect use of government policy to control local government borrowing. The findings of this study are anticipated to affect local government practices and national government policies in relation to local government finances.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

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Article
Publication date: 22 August 2008

Asifa Hussain and Mohammed Ishaq

More than six years have elapsed since the much‐heralded Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 (hereafter also referred to as the “Act”) came into force. The Act had been…

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1137

Abstract

Purpose

More than six years have elapsed since the much‐heralded Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 (hereafter also referred to as the “Act”) came into force. The Act had been prompted by concern at the lack of progress made in the sphere of racial equality despite the existence of the 1976 Race Relations Act. There were accusations that the 1976 Act was outdated and lacked the political teeth to be effective. The new Act imposed for the first time specific requirements on public sector institutions to be more proactive in promoting race equality. The duties would apply to public bodies that were previously exempt such as the Police and the National Health Service. This paper aims to focus on Scottish local councils and to examine the progress made by these public sector organisations in the field of race equality since the new Act came into force.

Design/methodology/approach

The researchers carried out a postal survey of Scotland's 32 local authorities in order to assess the progress made in the area of race equality. Questions focused on examining the scale of progress in relation to both employment and service delivery.

Findings

The results revealed a mixed picture. On the positive side, most councils had initiated race awareness training programmes. The majority had also incorporated aspects of race equality into their equal opportunities policies and most had instituted measures to engage with ethnic minority communities. However, there are still areas where performance is unsatisfactory, including inadequacies in the ethnic monitoring of staff, failure to reflect the size of the ethnic minority community in the workforce, and the absence of a clear and distinctive policy on racial harassment in the workplace.

Originality/value

This research will be of great value to anyone who is interested in assessing whether the legislative duties imposed by the Act have been satisfied by Scotland's local authorities. It is the first study of its kind in Scotland and is likely to appeal to both practitioners in the public sector and to academics.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 21 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2019

Josette Caruana and Kimberly Zammit

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the relationship between control by the Maltese Central Government on Local Government and the format and basis of budgetary and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the relationship between control by the Maltese Central Government on Local Government and the format and basis of budgetary and financial reporting used. The study analyses the role of reporting in agency and fiscal federalism theories.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were carried out with the controller (Central Government officials and the National Audit Office), while a survey was carried out with the controlled (Maltese Local Councils).

Findings

The type of reporting used by Maltese Local Councils may be undermining the control that Central Government seeks to exercise on overspending and debt levels. The Local Councils’ financial statements report accrual deficits and increasing liabilities. This overspending appears to slip through Parliamentary scrutiny because the latter approves cash allocations to Local Councils; the financial reports submitted to Parliament do not highlight overspending in cash terms; and the cash budget execution report that should be prepared by Local Councils is not given due importance.

Originality/value

Central Government should be consistent in its policy towards Local Government, which may require more elaborate reporting. This study highlights the importance of aligning the reporting required (top-down) and the reporting presented (bottom-up) – otherwise, control is at stake.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2017

Radiah Othman, Fawzi Laswad and Nirmala Nath

The purpose of this paper is to examine local councils’ response to the Environmental Reporting Act 2015(ERA), stakeholder identification and implications for the state of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine local councils’ response to the Environmental Reporting Act 2015(ERA), stakeholder identification and implications for the state of the environment management and monitoring of by local councils in New Zealand.

Design/methodology/approach

Informed by stakeholder salience theory, this study uses an interpretative approach in analysing survey data collected from all 78 local councils. Ninety-two key individuals responded to the survey which was administered a month before the Environmental Reporting Bill was passed as an Act.

Findings

The findings suggest that focus and priorities of the councils varied depending on the influential power of various group stakeholders. Legal requirements were a very significant factor for reporting environmental sustainability information and the availability of funding and resources posed a significant challenge. Environmental sustainability was considered as both a risk and an opportunity. Compliance with legislation was the utmost priority of the local councils.

Research limitations/implications

The results suggest that stakeholders with power received more attention from the local councils. In addition, the tension between the central government, the elected representatives and the public became apparent.

Originality/value

This paper offers insight on how the local councils viewed risks, opportunities and potential implications of a new legislation, and whether the stakeholders were considered in these contexts.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

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Article
Publication date: 17 July 2015

Belinda Rachael Williams

The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of the role of communication in the sustainability reporting process within Australian local councils. The study…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of the role of communication in the sustainability reporting process within Australian local councils. The study focuses on three areas; understanding and awareness levels of local councils towards sustainability, sustainability reporting methods and the importance of community engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative semi-structured interview approach was adopted for this investigation. In total, 18 semi-structured interviews were conducted with senior managers across 13 local councils.

Findings

Findings indicate that sustainability reporting is very much an emerging field in local government in Australia with varying levels of understanding and awareness of sustainability amongst councils. A lack of consistency in the current communication message being produced was found along with a lack of community engagement by most councils in the reporting process. Without clarity in the communication process, sustainability reporting in the local government context will continue to falter without a clear focus.

Practical implications

The paper suggests the need for the local government sector to carefully consider the role of communication in an effort to provide direction on how best to discharge their sustainability accountabilities.

Originality/value

Little attention has been given to the role of communication in accounting. The findings contribute to an understanding surrounding communication process issues in an effort to advance the sustainability reporting agenda within local government.

Details

Asian Review of Accounting, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1321-7348

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Article
Publication date: 17 September 2019

Silvia Gaia and Michael John Jones

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the current nature and content of biodiversity reporting practices adopted by English local councils. By adopting a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the current nature and content of biodiversity reporting practices adopted by English local councils. By adopting a multi-theoretical framework that relies on economic and social theories such as agency, stakeholder, legitimacy and institutional theories, this study also aims to investigate the factors that explain the extent of biodiversity disclosure provided by local councils.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a self-constructed disclosure index to analyse the biodiversity-related information published in the official websites of 351 English local councils. A multivariate analysis was conducted to analyse the association between local councils’ characteristics and biodiversity disclosure.

Findings

This study shows that the information disclosed on local biodiversity is limited and does not allow the interested stakeholders to get a comprehensive picture of the current status of local biodiversity. It also provides evidence that the level of biodiversity disclosure is significantly associated with the level of local council’s population, the presence of councillors from environmentally oriented parties and environmental non-governmental organisations operating in the local council area, poor biodiversity management practices and local councils’ visibility.

Originality/value

This study is one of the few accounting studies that provides a comprehensive analysis of biodiversity disclosure by analysing its nature and content and investigating the factors associated with such disclosure. It extends agency, stakeholder, institutional and legitimacy theories, by showing that local councils use voluntary disclosures to satisfy the informational needs of the main stakeholders and to assure that their strategies and practices conform to the values and expectations of the community they represent.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Content available
Article
Publication date: 23 July 2019

Rushdi Aziz Abdullah

The purpose of this paper is to examine empirically the relevance and impact of a number of factors on the role of local councils in local policy-making in Erbil province/Iraq.

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1588

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine empirically the relevance and impact of a number of factors on the role of local councils in local policy-making in Erbil province/Iraq.

Design/methodology/approach

This research theoretically based on literature review and adopted an analytical approach to clarify the related concepts through the policy cycle approach. On the empirical side, the research adopted a descriptive analysis for research questions and used statistical analysis to test the research hypotheses.

Findings

The results of the study reveal that variables of the local policy-making process, political factors, interaction patterns and the role of other actors have relevance in the role of local councils. In addition, the study concludes that technical feasibility, budgetary considerations, public opinion, coalition building, civil society, executive bodies, administrative organs and non-governmental organizations have a positive effect on the role of local councils in local policy-making in Erbil province, while interest groups have a negative effect on the role of local councils in local policy-making in Erbil province.

Practical implications

The findings and recommendations of this research can practically use by the local councils to achieve effective local policy, particularly in Erbil province/Iraq.

Originality/value

This research has interesting implications in theory and practice, as it provides several contributions to the literature, as well as the practical contribution for local councils in the local policy-making process.

Details

Review of Economics and Political Science, vol. 4 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2356-9980

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Book part
Publication date: 30 May 2017

Martin Jones

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, English local government faced a period of significant budget reduction and uncertainty. Austerity measures were effectively…

Abstract

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, English local government faced a period of significant budget reduction and uncertainty. Austerity measures were effectively rolled out over several budget iterations, resulting in a 37% real-term reduction in core central government funding, equivalent to a 25% reduction in income/spending power (including council tax) between 2010 and 2011 and 2015 and 2016. At the same time, changes in government policy in a range of areas between 2011 and 2012 and 2015 and 2016 created 164 new burdens on local government, with an estimated value of £11.5 billion, many of which were unfunded. All of this during a period when local government was being encouraged to freeze council tax and when natural pressure on locally collected taxation and services was increasing due to the economic recession.

This chapter reviews the responses of four English local governments to the austerity period triggered by the onset of the global financial crisis in 2007. For the English councils the results develop into two main themes. Firstly, there appeared to be a common set of anticipatory and coping capacities employed both in the lead up to the funding cuts from 2010 onwards and in the way councils subsequently dealt with aspects of the crisis. Secondly, despite this commonality, the specific and local contexts experienced by each council, both internally and externally, determined their overall path to dealing with austerity. These two paths were self-regulation and constrained adaption.

Details

Governmental Financial Resilience
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-262-6

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1986

The Local Government Act 1985 provided for the abolition of the Greater London Council and the six Metropolitan County Councils on 1st April, 1986. The Act deals with the…

Abstract

The Local Government Act 1985 provided for the abolition of the Greater London Council and the six Metropolitan County Councils on 1st April, 1986. The Act deals with the transfer of those functions currently exercised by the Greater London Council and the Metropolitan County Councils to existing authorities namely the Local Council of each London Borough and Metropolitan District.

Details

Property Management, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-7472

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Article
Publication date: 22 January 2020

Alan Doig and Peter A. Sproat

The purpose of this paper is to research how local councils in England responded to a national initiative intended to address the risk of the involvement of organised…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to research how local councils in England responded to a national initiative intended to address the risk of the involvement of organised crime in local government procurement fraud. In so doing, it considers definitional issues before undertaking original research to explore how councils responded and, through in-depth interviews with three councils, what initial explanations may explain the responses. It concludes that the national initiative was insufficiently thought-through, and that councils’ responses were significantly influenced by the relevance of the threat of organised crime, financial constraints and competing priorities.

Design/methodology/approach

The case study involves a literature review, an analysis of official documentation, a questionnaire to local councils in the north of England and semi-structured interviews with anti-fraud practitioners in three councils in the northeast of England. The approach is to provide an analysis of the implementation of a national initiative to promote a local government response to procurement fraud by organised crime.

Findings

On the basis of original research, the paper proposes that the national initiative was insufficiently thought-through, and that councils’ responses were influenced by the relevance of the threat of organised crime, financial constraints and competing priorities.

Research limitations/implications

The research looks at a national initiative and how local councils responded within the context of financial and other constraints. The research is limited in terms of the range of responses it sought, and that it only studied the experience of three local councils in detail. On the other hand, its findings support further research into the implementation of national initiatives in terms of practice on the ground.

Practical implications

The findings identify issues surrounding the design and implementation of national anti-fraud policies from the perspective of local government and will be of value to practitioners and academics interested in fraud, policing, organised crime, local government and policy making.

Originality/value

The paper is the first study in the UK on the local implementation of national strategies on procurement fraud and organised crime and raises positive and less-positive aspects of how far national strategies and intentions are addressed on the ground, with a focus on what factors may influence local implementation.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

Keywords

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