Local government and governance in Gwent (1972-1996) with special reference to school education.
Moses, Howell G
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.
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This study sets out to analyse and reflect on changes in Welsh local authority government and governance between 1972 and 1996, with special reference to education. The Local Government (Wales) Act 1972 was a landmark in Welsh local government history. It came when the local authorities in England and Wales had reached the zenith of their influence and power and had become a major force in the government of Britain. During the 1950s and 1960s, local authorities had been subject to much public criticism, which led to a fundamental reappraisal of their relationship with central government and the introduction of an intense programme of legislation designed to curtail their roles and activities. Using the former County of Gwent (1994-1996) as an example, the study took a critical look at how change affected one Welsh local authority. The investigation is contextualised in the development of local government and education in south-east Wales. The substance of the investigation consists of the analysis of a series of in-depth interviews with members and officers of the Authority who were key players in the County before it was divided into five small unitary areas. The study also reflects on the growth of governance in Wales particularly the activities of quasi autonomous non-governmental bodies (quangos) which, over the period of study, grew into a supplementary form of local administration. In addition to studying formal policy and decision making processes employed by local authorities the study deals with less overt and informal decision making processes, areas largely uncharted in the literature of local government. In doing so, attention is directed to exploring relationships between elected members and senior officers and their influence on decisíon and policy making processes. It is contended that in Wales political expediency has been allowed to override rational argument about the appropriate size and range of activities considered compatible with LEAs' operating efficiency.
MA Education Thesis
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