Achieving accountable government

Constitutional change in local government: council backbench committees have the potential to enhance overview and scrutiny

Constitutional change in local government: council backbench committees have the potential to enhance overview and scrutiny

The Wright reforms of the House of Commons’ select committees increased the effectiveness of parliamentary scrutiny in Westminster. Andrew Coulson (Institute of Local Government Studies, University of Birmingham) assesses whether the proposed Betts reforms to local authority oversight and scrutiny committees could do the same for local government.  Similar PostsA mess of pottage? The North of Tyne deal and the travails of devolutionHow Parliament’s campaign of attrition forced the […]

Accountability in a one-party system: the task of gauging public opinion in Vietnam

Accountability in a one-party system: the task of gauging public opinion in Vietnam

Vietnam is a one-party state: it is characterised variously as ‘not free’, ‘developmental’ and ‘responsive-regressive’. Dennis Curry explains how the UN Development Programme and a local think-tank worked together to get an insight into what citizens think of public service delivery and local governance. Their PAPI survey shows a growing concern for the environment, although it […]

How are PMs held to account? A survey of procedures in 32 parliamentary democracies

How are PMs held to account? A survey of procedures in 32 parliamentary democracies

How are prime ministers held to account by their parliaments, and how do UK mechanisms on the matter fare in comparison to those in other countries? Ruxandra Serban (University College London) explores the different procedures in place across 32 parliamentary democracies to answer these questions. Similar PostsThrough a glass, darkly: what should parliaments be built from?Who will […]

Brian Klaas: ‘The incentives for a Trump 2.0 will be exactly the same as the incentives for Trump’

Brian Klaas: ‘The incentives for a Trump 2.0 will be exactly the same as the incentives for Trump’

In his first year in power, argues Brian Klaas (LSE), Donald Trump has deployed the tactics of despots and begun to corrode the institutions of US democracy. What happens next? Democratic Audit editor Ros Taylor talks to him about his new book, The Despot’s Apprentice. Similar PostsDisgusted by Donald Trump? Turning away from the spectacle […]

How the planning system lets homeowners overwhelm the broader public interest

How the planning system lets homeowners overwhelm the broader public interest

Britain needs more housing, especially in the South East, yet the green belt still enjoys a great deal of protection from development. John Sturzaker (University of Liverpool) looks at the difficulty of establishing whether NIMBYism is motivated by self-interest or legitimate concerns – and the imbalance of power between people who need housing, and those […]

Where would an English Parliament be located?

Where would an English Parliament be located?

Ongoing UCL Constitution Unit research is exploring options for an English Parliament. The choice of location would have major practical implications, as well as being of high symbolic importance. Jack Sheldon (UCL Constitution Unit) sets out the factors that would need to be considered. He suggests that while a ‘dual mandate’ English Parliament would almost certainly meet […]

We need to understand why states object to the presence of foreign-funded NGOs

We need to understand why states object to the presence of foreign-funded NGOs

More and more countries restrict how NGOs operate, often by limiting their funding. The response is frequently to argue that these restrictions flout international law or amount to crackdowns on the opposition. Annika E Poppe and Jonas Wolff (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt) argue that the objections to NGO activity need to be taken seriously. In […]

Elections without democracy: how Singapore and Malaysia pre-empt dissent from the ground up

Elections without democracy: how Singapore and Malaysia pre-empt dissent from the ground up

Elections are not the only barometer of a country’s democratisation. In a number of hybrid regimes, forms of authoritarian strategies hinder the ability of opposition parties to cut through and challenge the existing order. Meredith L Weiss (University at Albany) explains how this works on the ground in Singapore and Malaysia. Similar PostsNow Indonesia has […]

Does the online tool WriteToThem foster meaningful communication with constituents?

Does the online tool WriteToThem foster meaningful communication with constituents?

Some predicted the internet would be the silver bullet that could deal with the deficits of representative democracy. Others were less optimistic about its potential to foster democracy. Hartwig Pautz (University of the West of Scotland) looks at whether the e-democracy tool WriteToThem allows for meaningful communication between citizens and their elected representatives. Similar PostsEveryone loves select committees […]

Form a party or start a pressure group? The choice facing nascent political movements

Form a party or start a pressure group? The choice facing nascent political movements

When you’re an under-represented group, changing policy is hard. Do you form a party or start a pressure group? Disagreements about the best way forward have historically riven the Green movement in both France and the UK. Ben Farrer (Knox College) explains why activists need to think about how national institutions in their country work […]

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