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New forms of local accountability: Coming to terms with 'many hands'?

Sullivan, Helen


Helen Sullivan


The transformation of many western liberal democracies in the late 20th century has had important implications for the practice of public accountability, compounding the problem of 'many hands'. This article considers developments in academic debate and discusses how traditional modes of vertical accountability can be augmented by new horizontal mechanisms. New Labour's approach to local 'modernisation' in England is examined, including, but going beyond, local government, to consider new institutions that seek to 'join up' local action. The article concludes that to manage the problem of 'many hands' requires specific intervention from local government in its community leadership role.


Sullivan, H. (2003). New forms of local accountability: Coming to terms with 'many hands'?. Policy and Politics, 31(3), 353-369.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 1, 2003
Journal Policy and Politics
Print ISSN 0305-5736
Publisher Policy Press
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 3
Pages 353-369
Keywords local accountability
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Article developed from paper presented to ESRC seminar series on local governance in 2002. Provided support for successful application to ESRC for CRC seminar series on new forms of accountability (2004-6).

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