Principles for Local Government Legislation

Lessons from the Commonwealth Pacific

Paperback: £30.00

Principles for Local Government Legislation

Contributors: Graham Sansom
Series Title: Commonwealth Secretariat Local Government Reform Series
Number within series: 4
Publication date: 10 April 2013
Size: 240mm x 165mm
ISBN: 978-1-84929-089-0
Pages: 86

Across the Pacific local councils take a variety of different forms, ranging from traditional village structures to fully-fledged municipalities. Whatever form local government takes, an appropriate legislative and regulatory framework is essential to ensure that councils can effectively address the needs of their communities.

This study is designed to help Pacific island countries review and strengthen their existing frameworks. It begins by examining legislation and systems across a range of countries and institutional settings, identifying examples of best practice and areas for improvement. It then presents case studies of three very different legislative frameworks: Fiji, Solomon Islands and Samoa. In the conclusion, the findings are consolidated into ten key principles for effective legislation: fit for purpose; democracy and representation; local empowerment; probity; oversight and support; capacity and sustainability; efficiency, effectiveness and equity; community engagement; inter-government co-operation; clarity and consistency.

This is an authoritative piece of research that will be extremely valuable to local government practitioners in the Pacific and beyond.

ContentsExpand or collapse me
Abbreviations and acronyms

1. Introduction
1.1 Rationale
1.2 Project goals
1.3 Methodology

2. Context
2.1 Regional overview
2.2 Decentralisation
2.3 Issues in local governance
2.4 Local government and civil society
2.5 Local government and traditional governance
2.6 The urban challenge
2.7 Local government finance
2.8 Central-local relations

3. Current Legislative Frameworks
3.1 Defining local government
3.2 Country systems
3.2.1 Cook Islands
3.2.2 Fiji
3.2.3 Kiribati
3.2.4 Papua New Guinea
3.2.5 Samoa
3.2.6 Solomon Islands
3.2.7 Tonga
3.2.8 Tuvalu
3.2.9 Vanuatu

4. Towards Principles for Effective Legislation
4.1 Sources and ideas
4.2 A ‘menu’ of principles

5. Case Study: Fiji
5.1 Context
5.2 System of local government
5.2.1 Local government structures
5.2.2 Role and functions
5.2.3 Oversight and scrutiny
5.2.4 Inter-government relations
5.3 Agendas for reform: the 2006 amendments
5.4 Agendas for reform: the 2008 review
5.5 Lessons for effective legislation

6. Case Study: Honiara City Council
6.1 Context
6.2 Establishment and operation of the city council
6.3 Review of the Honiara City Act
6.4 Town planning and building control
6.5 Lessons for effective legislation

7. Case Study: Samoa
7.1 Context
7.2 System of local government
7.3 Traditional village governance
7.3.1 Forces for change
7.4 Urban governance
7.5 Emerging agendas
7.5.1 Ministry capacity building
7.5.2 Samoa Village Governance Strengthening Project
7.5.3 Vaitele pilot study
7.6 Lessons for effective legislation

8. Synthesis and Conclusions
8.1 Lessons from the case studies
8.1.1 Clear role definition
8.1.2 Democracy and representativeness
8.1.3 Social context
8.1.4 Integrating systems
8.1.5 Urban growth management
8.1.6 Resources
8.1.7 Capacity for oversight and support
8.1.8 Inter-government relations
8.1.9 Local government and traditional governance
8.2 The limits to legislation
8.3 Ten key principles

References and bibliography
About the contributor Expand or collapse me

Graham Sansom (Author)

Professor Graham Sansom was Director of the UTS Centre for Local Government and the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government. His principal professional and research interests are in the areas of public policy, particularly issues relating to the fundamental role and purpose of local government, strategic and corporate planning, and inter-government relations.