Decentralisation & Local Governance
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In the current era of state reform everybody seems agreed that decentralisation of government is a good thing – governments themselves, aid donors and other international agencies, many of the citizens of various countries, and certainly many academic writers on good governance, public service reform and development. The case for decentralisation is argued on both political grounds – as strengthening democracy, accountability and participation by bringing government 'closer' to its citizens – and economic grounds, those of enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of public service provision. Decentralisation is also seen by many agencies as being effective in combating poverty.
This course asks why decentralisation is considered a good thing, and assesses a range of experiences of decentralisation in different kinds of countries and different parts of the world, to highlight issues and options in the design, implementation and management of decentralisation at various levels of government: from federal nation states to rural districts and even villages. The course's approach is that governance is a political process as much as a technical one.