Decision Making At The Local Level - The Missing Link? An empirical study of the localism act and sure start 2010-2012 [article]

Jayne Ruth Meyer Tucker, University, The Australian National, University, The Australian National
The tension between top-down directives and local-level decision-making is a constant theme running through implementation studies. Through the case study of Sure Start (a UK early childhood program introduced in 1997, which brings together services for children under four and their families and has a particular focus on local level decision-making), this thesis provides a deeper understanding of these relationship tensions by examining the impact of the Localism Act 2011 (UK) on
more » ... ) on decision-making at the local level. (The aim of the Localism Act, introduced in November 2011, is to facilitate the devolution of decision-making powers from central government to individuals, communities and local councils). The research involved interviews with local-level service providers and bureaucrats, county- and national-level bureaucrats, government ministers and national peak bodies involved in the implementation of Sure Start. Interviews with key actors revealed little evidence of the Localism Act positively influencing decision making at the local level. As well as identifying the reasons why the Localism Act has had so little impact on local-level decision making, the thesis combines policy implementation and complexity leadership theories to develop a new way of thinking about the complex relationships that characterise implementation of local-level programs initiated and funded by central government. This new way of thinking about complex relationship tensions is based on three discoveries. The first is the importance of adequate resources in managing complexity and change. The second is the need for a generative leadership style to nurture an enabling approach to leadership. The third is that fragmentation can have positive as well as negative impacts.
doi:10.25911/5d723ef817064 fatcat:pqgd353ktfd4jaz5hmaof722gm