Leadership in local government reform : strategic direction versus administrative compliance

“This paper reports on a study into the managerial and organizational responses to the reform of Victorian local government, highlighting the fact that each local authority is unique and that broad policy instruments designed to reform and improve local government across the State will have mixed success reflecting the attitudes and competencies of those responsible for implementation.”

Local government reform is occurring in different ways and at different rates throughout Australia. Driven by their own State and the Federal Government is reform agendas local governments are responding in a myriad of ways. These reforms are designed to improve the efficient delivery of local government services and include measures such as boundary restructuring to achieve economies of scale and the contracting out of council works and services. The pace and responsibility for these reforms is also being driven in different ways throughout Australian States. The Victorian State Government is agenda for local government reform is seen as the most proactive having completed boundary reform within a specific timeframe, achieved significant rate cuts and set minimum standards for compulsory competitive tendering (CCT) expenditure (Johnstone & Kiss 1996).

While other Australian States have been less directive with the reform of their local governments they appear equally interested in improving this area of public sector management. The managerial and organizational response to these universal, State wide reform strategies reveals much about the assumptions held by those responsible for implementation. The challenge of responding to broad policy instruments varies between local governments reflecting the unique history, present context, values and competence of those responsible for implementing this, change.

Published in Australian Journal of Public Administration | John Martin | 1999, https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Leadership-in-local-government-reform-%3A-strategic-Martin/c6386c9c2dcb21e118c762700f31cbc3dc735f3c, https://consensus.app/details/this-paper-reports-study-responses-reform-government-martin/c5057f5f6835519f991bb15331fff748/