Local government has been described as ‘big business’. With the exception of Northern Ireland, local authorities in the United Kingdom are responsible for education, housing, personal services, transport, planning, fire and rescue services, policing, libraries and museums, leisure and recreation, waste services, consumer protection and environmental health. This chapter examines the role which has been played by the Scottish Parliament in the development of local government. In relation to the organisation and structure of Scottish local government, and in sharp contrast to the position south of the Border (where the Local Government Act 2000 required most councils in England and Wales to choose between an elected mayor and executive, an appointed leader and executive, or an elected mayor and council manager) the Scottish Parliament has been largely non-interventionist, preferring to allow local authorities to review and also reform their own organisational and decision-making structures on an informal basis.
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