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Intergovernmental relations in Scotland post-devolution

McGarvey, Neil (2002) Intergovernmental relations in Scotland post-devolution. Local Government Studies, 28 (3). pp. 29-48. ISSN 0300-3930

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Central-local relations in Scotland pre-devolution were different to a degree, but the overall substance and rationale behind them tended to be very similar to those in England. This article outlines post-devolution developments in Scotland. As in England, 'partnership' has dominated the rhetoric of central politicians and policy-makers. This has masked significant differences in approach to central-local relations. The Scottish Executive has focused on central-local relations as a topic in its own right, regulatory oversight arrangements are less heavy-handed and the new parliament has increased transparency. Despite its more 'light touch' approach, the executive has successfully imposed its agenda on Scottish local government. Attention is however beginning to focus on 'delivery'. Given the non-executant nature of the executive, this will increase its focus on local councils. Failure to deliver will impose serious strains on the much-hyped central-local partnership.