Effective local governance has a vital role to play in tackling social, economic and environmental problems.
It calls for a new localism- a strategic approach to devolution- to allow local communities and governments to involve themselves in the decisions that affect their social, economic and political environment.
In a global world and one where national governments continue to have a key role, a nested but powerful role for local governance remains the most attractive option.
New localism emerged from an increasing understanding of the limitations of centrally-driven policy implementation. It involved an acceptance that local problems could not be solved by standardised approaches imposed from above, and that local agencies needed space to adapt and innovate within the policy framework.
An effective new localism when combined with a realised practice of public engagement and participation lays the foundations for a new form of networked community governance. This form of governance goes beyond traditional public administration and new public management-inspired forms of local governance to provide a focus for both integrated service and programme delivery and the capacity to engage and involve a large number of stakeholders in influencing policy.