Chris Game

Chris Game
University of Birmingham · Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV)

M.A. (Political Behaviour) University of Essex

About

50
Publications
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318
Citations
Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (50)
Article
Full-text available
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown would surely love his political legacy to include a significant contribution to constitutional reform. Certainly he inherited, on succeeding Tony Blair in 2007, a substantial agenda of unfinished constitutional business: devolution, House of Lords reform, the electoral system, a bill of rights, a written constitution....
Article
Just over 100 years ago, 5 pioneering women and 1 quite exceptional one became the first legitimately elected female members of English county and county borough councils. While obviously important, the Qualification of Women Act 1907 that enabled their election was far from the only one to have influenced women's electoral involvement in local gov...
Chapter
The observation originated in the opening lines of L.P. Hartley’s best-known novel, The Go-Between, but for academic local government expert Tony Travers it summed up the Blair administration’s record of dashed hopes, missed opportunities, and almost unremitting central control: It is hard to believe just how optimistic people were during New Labou...
Article
by Colin Railings and Michael Thrasher (London, Routledge, 1997) xii+232 pp., £45 hbk ISBN 0 415 05953 4
Article
Chris Game reviews the media's unsatisfactory presentation of the New Northern Ireland Assembly STV election results in June 1998.
Article
The Local Government Act 1985 abolished the Greater London Council (GLC) and the six English metropolitan county councils (MCCS); but it did not abolish the services for which they were responsible. It transferred them: some directly to the lower-tier borough or district councils, others to a variety of joint boards, joint committees, residuary bod...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide, at a particularly significant point in its short history, an overview of a unique system of performance management to which all principal local authorities in England have been subject for the past three years. Design/methodology/approach – Comprehensive performance assessment (CPA) is the controve...
Article
The Government's policy of encouraging the adoption of directly elected mayors in the cities and major towns of England can hardly be judged, at least in the short term, as anything other than a failure - and particularly a failure of process. The contention of this paper is that there is an additional cost to this failure. The focus on mayors has...
Article
The purpose of this article is to describe and evaluate the public consultation exercises mounted by the Local Government Commission for England under its successive Chairmen, Sir John Banham and Sir David Cooksey. The Commission was evidently proud of this aspect of its work, emphasizing repeatedly its unprecedented nature: in itself an unremarkab...
Article
Tony Blair’s New Labour Party came to power in 1997 committed to ‘modernizing’ and rejuvenating a local government system that it considered had been weakened and emasculated by the Thatcher and Major Conservative governments. Written immediately following Labour’s overwhelming re-election in June 2001, this article is an interim review of some of...
Article
Full-text available
The Government's policy of encouraging the adoption of directly elected mayors in the cities and major towns of England appears to be stumbling, almost aimlessly, towards at least short-term failure. The contention of this paper is that there is an additional cost to this failure: the distraction of public -and to some extent local government -atte...
Chapter
In the previous two chapters we have emphasised the elective, democratic history and character of the UK system of local government: that the councillors and councils we elect constitute ‘the government’ of our city, town, county or district in the same way that ministers and the Cabinet constitute the government of the country. There are, however,...
Chapter
In Chapter 9 we outlined what we labelled the nuts and bolts of local government finance — grants, taxes, fees and charges — and looked in detail at the budget process in one particular local authority. In this chapter we take several steps back, so that we can view the whole system of local government finance and the way it has changed over the pa...
Chapter
The period immediately following local government reorganisation in 1974 saw, particularly in more rural areas, a marked acceleration of the party politicisation of local government. One major cause of this development was the structural reorganisation itself: the boundary changes and the amalgamation of small and independent-dominated authorities...
Article
This article records party results at the May 1995 local elections together with a breakdown of council governing arrangements and a hint of worse to come for the Conservative Party in May 1996.
Chapter
This chapter is divided into four sections. First some of the basic features of the employment structures of local authorities are outlined. Secondly, a view from below is offered as we examine what it is like to be a manual or lower-grade clerical worker for a local authority. Thirdly, we take a view from above and look at the roles of senior mana...
Chapter
In the final two chapters of Part 1 we look in more depth at some of those topics we have so far just mentioned in passing — government grants, the community charge and the new council tax, capping — and then set them in recent historical context. It is a two-part exercise; hence the need for two chapters.
Chapter
In Chapter 9 we outlined what we labelled the nuts and bolts of local government finance — grants, taxes, fees and charges — and looked in detail at the budget process in one particular local authority. In this chapter we take several steps back, so that we can view the whole system of local government finance and the way it has changed over the pa...
Chapter
This chapter explores who councillors are, what they do, why they do it and how they might do it better. First, though, try to talk to one or two councillors yourselves. Find out at first hand how they spend their time and how they justify their elective existences. They will not be ‘typical’, but part of the message of this chapter is the unhelpfu...
Chapter
To understand contemporary local government it is essential to grasp the basics of its historical development and evolution. The present system has its roots in the last 150 years and beyond but, as Keith-Lucas and Richards emphasise (1978, p. 35), local government ‘was not evolved to provide a co-ordinated system of administration for a logically...
Chapter
There are many ways of starting off a book on UK local government. We have chosen a previously unrecorded anecdote concerning ‘a recent Cabinet Minister of our acquaintance’. Pretentious perhaps, but it is relevant. The politician had better remain nameless, though his (a small but not very helpful clue!) identity may well be guessable from his hav...
Chapter
In this chapter we address that deceptively simple question: why elected local government? In Chapter 2 we identified the defining characteristics of our local government system and some of the challenges facing it in the 1990s. We look now at the principles underpinning that system, at its rationale and raison d’être, its value and values. Most of...
Chapter
Chapters 12 and 13 have examined the roles of councillors and officers in local authorities. This chapter builds on that information to examine the internal dynamics of politics inside the Town and County Hall. Organisational structures such as those outlined in Chapter 5 (e.g. full council meetings, committees and sub-committees) indicate the form...
Chapter
As Chapter 4 indicated, governments at Westminster see the structure of local government as important. It is in their interests to ‘get the structure right’, not least because structural change can provide political advantage and hence help to facilitate control. This chapter builds upon the material in Chapter 4 and provides a two-part discussion....
Chapter
This chapter moves beyond the traditional and rather narrow focus of Whitehall-English local authority relations to convey something of the extent and diversity of the ‘national local government system’ in the UK. What will emerge is a picture of numerous policy networks constituting a governmental system which is both complex and fragmented. This...
Chapter
Chapter 5 outlined the basics of internal management in local authorities. It focused on the central role of departments and committees in managing local authority activities. It is, however, necessary to move beyond structure. Recent internal management agendas have emphasised the central importance of culture and values. From a focus during the 1...
Chapter
Local authorities are important not only as instruments of democratic self-government; they remain immensely significant as providers of an extensive range of local community services. This chapter focuses on the changing nature of local authority functions, especially in the light of the advent of the ‘enabling authority’. Service provision in con...
Chapter
Throughout this book one theme has received emphasis in chapter after chapter, namely that of change. We have argued at various points that local government is in a state of flux. It has, since the mid-1980s, been operating in a turbulent environment. The amount and scope of legislative change impinging upon it have been unprecedented. The Local Go...
Chapter
This chapter explores the complex area of central-local relations. It begins by providing an overview of the formal framework within which interactions take place. Formal frameworks must, however, always be studied alongside actual working relationships — hence the dynamics of central-local relations come under scrutiny next. The third part of the...
Chapter
Most studies of local communities point to an extensive local pressure group universe. Jones (1969) provided an interesting case study of Wolverhampton; Newton (1976, p. 38) identified some 4,264 local organisations in Birmingham; Cousins (1976) in his study of three South London boroughs found a similar high level of organised groupings; Bishop an...
Chapter
There are, as we saw in Chapter 2, several characteristics which distinguish local authorities from other institutions of public administration. One — the most fundamental of all — is the fact of their election, aspects of which provide the content of the next two chapters. Chapter 12 focuses on the products of the electoral process: the councillor...
Chapter
Chapter 4 outlined the development of local government up until the end of the 1980s. Since then, however, the re-organisation debate has raged. The focus for debate was the establishment in 1992 of the Local Government Commission for England (under Sir John Banham) alongside similar scrutinies of structure in both Scotland and Wales by their respe...
Chapter
The introduction and development of compulsory competitive tendering (CCT) in local authorities have been at the heart of recent Conservative governments’ agendas for change. Successive legislative enactments have forced local authorities to put specific services out to competitive tender on a time-scale established by the centre. This chapter exam...
Chapter
Like it or not — and we conclude this chapter by examining both sides of the case — party politics nowadays is a central feature of local government across most of the UK. In the first part of the chapter, therefore, we look at the current political landscape of local government and briefly at how that landscape has come to look as it does. We then...
Chapter
This chapter introduces some of the main issues and themes of UK local government in the 1990s. It then identifies some of the key defining characteristics of our local government system. We start by trying to demonstrate the value of our own advice about the benefits of following local government in the national and local press. If, for example, y...
Article
As the poll tax has entered the centre of the political arena, public opinion has changed to the extent that it is now fair to say ‘the more they know about it, the less they like it’. There is a high political cost to pay for a policy change which has more losers than gainers.
Article
There are, as we saw in Chapter 2, several characteristics which distinguish local authorities from other institutions of public administration. One — the most fundamental of all — is the fact of their election, aspects of which provide the content of the next two chapters. Chapter 12 focuses on the products of the electoral process: the councillor...
Article
The recent publication of Jones and Norton's Political Leadership in Local Government is an opportunity to assess the state of local leadership studies in the UK. A critical review of this volume is offered and some possible reasons for the dearth of systematic studies of leadership resources and behaviour discussed. Contrasts are drawn with the wo...