Mind the gaps: managing mutual dependence in relations among levels of government

Local government Australia Europe North America New Zealand Great Britain

Over the past two decades OECD countries have made a series of policy choices, particularly with respect to decentralisation, allowing for greater territorial differentiation in policy design and implementation. This report examines these arrangements across the OECD.

These policy choices are influenced by a need for governments to solve increasingly complex problems, ones for which solutions often require interaction among different levels of government. This has resulted in the need to manage a multi-faceted governance relationship: the vertical and horizontal interaction among levels of government and the challenge of ensuring that such interaction leads to coherent policy development and execution. Governments therefore, are promoting co-ordination in policy making as well as building capacity at all levels. In addition, networked relationships cannot be ignored. Today’s policy actors are no longer restricted to central and sub-national government authorities, but include the private sector, non-governmental organisations, and civil society. Finally, the policy objectives that capture the attention of these actors are broad ones, encompassing both national concerns such as efficacious public service delivery, and global ones, including environmental issues.

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