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Local Self Government. Hoda Mansour , Ph.D. Introduction.

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local self government

Local Self Government

HodaMansour, Ph.D.

  • Decentralisation is not new. Almost every country in the world (except some very small states) has some form of sub-national government structure, whether to maintain control or to deliver public services across the country, or both. Sub-national structures range from elected state, provincial, municipal or local governments with high degrees of autonomy, to local agents of the central state with minimal discretion – with numerous variations in between.
historical overview
Historical Overview
  • The centralisation / decentralisation debate tends to be cyclical. Central governments have a natural tendency to centralise, until some countervailing pressure forces decentralisation.
  • During the 1940s – 1970s, there was a centralising tendency in much of the world: under communism in central and eastern Europe, USSR and China; in newly independent countries where governments sought to consolidate their authority; and as a result of attempts at central economic planning in much of the developing world.
the 1970s and 1980s era
The 1970s and 1980s era
  • There has been a strong tendency to decentralise, with most countries adopting some form of decentralisation. This has been driven by:
  • the failures of the central state to be sufficiently responsive to citizen needs and regional differences
  • the failure of centralised economic planning to deliver results
  • democratisation in large parts of the world, bringing with it demands by local communities to control their own resources in accordance with local needs and priorities
  • urbanisation and the growth of large, complex cities, necessitating more responsive systems of city governance
  • budget problems of national governments, for which decentralisation of responsibilities is often seen (erroneously) as a solution
  • donor pressures on governments to decentralise as a way of improving service delivery at the periphery, and of getting around obstructions at the centre.
in fact
In fact, …
  • There is no 100 % centralized or decentralized states.
  • Countries are located between those two extremes.
requirements for effective decentralised government
Requirements for effective decentralised government
  • Boundaries, powers and functions defined in law
  • Separate legal identity with perpetual succession, able to buy, sell and hold property, and with its own budget and bank account
  • An elected decision-making body, although some members may be appointed
  • Significant discretion over local expenditures
  • Some independent source(s) of finance over which it has some discretion in setting the level and using the receipts
  • Its own staff (although they may belong to a unified national cadre, and some may be seconded from central government).
concept of lsg
Concept of LSG
  • LSG is a public body which is democratically elected and operate within the framework of the law and under the supervisor and assistance of the state , and which has autonomy to regulate and manage a wide range of Public affairs within its competences, on its own responsibility and in the interest of its population.
the main elements of the definition
The Main Elements of the Definition
  • Local Autonomy
  • Comprehensiveness of Local Management
  • Local Democracy

These 3 elements put the spot light on who exercises SG, how and in what respect.

  • Territorial Authority (who is “in charge”?)
  • Division of Functions (who does what?)
  • Representation (who represents the local population?)
  • Supervision and Control (who supervises whom?).
local autonomy
Local Autonomy
  • In all systems, local autonomy is constrained by legislation and central regulation. In some systems, autonomy is quite wide (and constitutionally protected in the case of states in a federation); in others it is very limited. Autonomy is essentially about the extent of discretion allowed to the local government to decide how to raise and spend funds.
  • Autonomy also depends on the rules governing central controls over local government, and the implementation of those rules.
  • It is often argued that autonomy is determined by the proportion of the local budget that is generated from local revenue sources. Having some local own revenue sources, and being able to make choices about the level and use of those resources is important for local autonomy.
what matters
What Matters
  • However, the amount of local own revenues is not the key issue. Local authorities in the Netherlands depend very heavily on central government grants and yet have a high degree of local autonomy, while local authorities in Kenya have to raise virtually all their own money but have relatively little real autonomy. What matters is discretion over the use of the money, wherever that money comes from, and “discretion at the margin”, that is, the choice about using that (usually small) part of the local government’s resources which are not already committed to meeting mandatory functions
comprehensiveness of local management
Comprehensiveness of Local Management
  • LSG shall operate on a wide spectrum of local units.
  • LSG isn't organized for a single local task but to find coordinated solution to some of them .
local democracy
Local Democracy
  • In some systems (usually referred to as the strong executive or executive mayor system), there is a clear division between the executive (e.g. mayor) and the legislature (elected councillors). In other systems (often referred to as the executive council system – as existed historically in the UK), the elected councillors are both the executive and the legislature. The former system can produce a more dynamic executive, with clearer accountability, and offers checks and balances (in principle, at least). But it can result in an impasse between the executive and legislature, and a marginalisation of elected councillors.
electoral accountability
Electoral accountability
  • Local governments must be accountable to local citizens. This requires elections. In some systems, some of the seats in the council are nominated by central government, but if this is more than a minority, it is doubtful whether this model corresponds to devolved local government. Local government electoral systems vary enormously in terms of their openness, fairness, frequency, inclusiveness, etc. They may be fought on party lines or non-party lines, and on either a first-past-the-post basis or proportional representation. Other mechanisms are also necessary for accountability: systems of accounting, auditing, performance indicators, etc. These will be addressed in later topics.
lg in european constitutions
LG in European constitutions
  • In Some European Courtiers , The constitution may touch the subject of LSG briefly like in Belgium , Italy and the Netherlands .
  • In other countries , more detailed articles can be found like in Germany , Spain , Hungary among others.
  • To achieve greater efficiency of public action, decentralization became a must, on the one hand, to assign to local responsibilities of the State without jeopardizing the unity and indivisibility of the Republic; and, secondly, to bring policymakers and citizens closer together.
the laws of march and july 1982
The laws of March and July 1982
  • Relating to the freedoms of communes, departments, and regions, make France a decentralized country. The Defferre Law of 1982 sought to define the principles governing the operation of local authorities (regions, departments, and municipalities) to enable the State to divest a number of skills and means of action to these local governments.
constitutional amendment
Constitutional Amendment
  • Article 1 of the Constitution stresses that henceforth the organization of the French Republic is decentralized;
  • Article 37-1 now enables laws and regulations to contain 'experimental' measures;
  • Title XII tackled the issue of Territorial Communities which include 5articles subdivided into many clauses.

“Art 72 to 75-1 and 76 – 77”

2009 reform
2009 Reform
  • On the 16th of December 2010 , law nb. 2010-1563 was adopted related to the Reform of the Territorial Collectivities.
  • It focuses on :
  • Local councils organisation and structure,
  • The reforms of local elections, and
  • Local Public management.
  • There is no written constitution , the conceptual elements of LSG are naturally spelled out in Acts of the Parliament and subordinate legislation.
  • 2main stages that led to the transformation of the whole structure of the Hungarian public administration.
  • In 1990: A new system of local democracy was established based upon the European charter of LSG .
  • In 1994: Introducing Act No. LXIII of 1994 to amend 7major problems emerged from practical application.
  • Chapter IX of the Hungarian constitution is dedicated to LG.
  • The latest amended constitution “to be ratified” also include provisions related to the LG where the cycle of municipal will be lengthened from 4 to 5 years and LG will have to have the approval of the government to take up loans.
creating local self government
Creating Local Self-Government
  • The Central and Local Institutional Arrangements
  • The Assignment of functions and responsibilities at the Central and Local levels “Expenditure Assignment”
  • Revenues Assignment
  • Building Institutional and Technical Capacity at both the Central and Local Level
the central local institutional arrangements
The Central-Local Institutional Arrangements
  • The extension of Local autonomy makes it possible for LSG to develop their management opportunities
  • The regular contact between Central and Local Government

(General versus Special supervision Instruments)

division of functions
Division of functions
  • Some systems have very clear divisions of functions between the tiers of government. In the UK (and many former British colonies), the legal principle of ultra vires means that local governments may only undertake those functions which the law specifies for them: doing anything else would be illegal. This can be quite limiting. In other systems, the principle of ‘general competence’ (the basis for most systems in continental Europe) enables local governments to undertake anything which is not assigned to another level of government or which is not proscribed by law. In some systems (e.g. Indonesia) there is considerable overlap of functions, which can lead to confusion and uncertainty over who is responsible.
expenditure assignment
Expenditure Assignment
  • LSG may only follow exactly what is by law or LSG is responsible for any local public matter.
  • Forms of decentralization
  • Symmetric Vs. Asymmetric Schemes
  • Benchmarking and standards at the Central Level.
forms and principles of decentralisation
Forms and Principles of Decentralisation
  • Deconcentration (sometimes also referred to as administrative or management decentralisation): responsibilities are assigned to agents of the central government.
  • Delegation:Transferring certain decision making to Local Offices which are accountable to Central Government under Principal- Agent relation
  • Devolution (also referred to as political decentralisation or democratic decentralisation): responsibilities and authority assigned to elected bodies with some degree of local autonomy.
asymmetric decentralisation
Asymmetric decentralisation
  • Whilst a uniform system of local government is easy to understand and manage, it may not be realistic to assign the same functions to all LGs (or all LGs at the same level). With asymmetric decentralisation, those LGs with the greatest capacity, for example large cities, are assigned more functions than weaker LGs (e.g. poor, rural LGs). Since such asymmetric decentralisation has significant political implications, decisions about the range of functions to be decentralised to a particular LG (and any progression towards increased functions) should ideally be based on objective indicators of performance in service delivery and other key variables. In practice, there will be political pressure to upgrade the status of LGs.
revenues assignment
Revenues Assignment
  • Effective Treasury, accounting and Tax administration systems at the Central Level.
  • Autonomous sources or shared Revenue.
  • Pricing Systems.
  • Intergovernmental Transfer System
  • Borrowing System.
building institutional and technical capacity at both the central and local level
Building Institutional and Technical Capacity at both the Central and Local Level
  • Hiring and firing policies
  • Research & Training capacity
  • Wage setting