Professional Authority and Resource Allocation: Treasurers and Politics in UK Local Governments

  • David Rosenberg

The rise to bureaucratic authority of elite professionals in UK local governments is part of the history of the transformation of the state in the nineteenth century. Under the old unreformed system the ruling aristocrats had ‘no desire for a regulated, bureaucratic society: they had too great a stake in personal power’.1Furthermore, under what radicals called‘old corruption’ municipal office was regarded as a form of property and a respect for such ‘rights’ acted as a barrier against bureaucratic reform. The absence of a history of the rise of elite professionals to bureaucratic authority in local governments has had a number of consequences. One, as emphasised by Rhodes, is that ‘one of the major actors in the decision making process is noticeable primarily for his absence from studies of local politics’.2

Keywords

Income Expense Smoke Arena Defend 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See R. Porter, English Society in the Eighteenth Century(Penguin, 1982), p. 308. Also Perkins comments that the ruling aristocrats ‘least of all would they entrust the state ... with a local bureaucratic civil service through which to outflank their territorial power’, H. Perkins, The Origins of Modern English Society 1780–1880(Routledge, 1969), p. 67.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See R. Rhodes, ‘The Lost World of British Local Politics’, in Local Government Studies, vol. 1, no. 3, July 1973.Google Scholar
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    See R. Lambert, ‘A Victorian National Health Service,’ in the Historical Journal, no. 1, 1962, p. 16.Google Scholar
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    See B. Keith-Lucas, The Unreformed Local Government Systems(Croom Helm, 1980), pp. 61–3 and W. D. Rubinstein, ‘The end of old corruption in Britain 1780–1860’, Past and Present, no. 101, Nov. 1983.Google Scholar
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    See also Doig comments on the unreformed municipal corporation of Ipswich. ‘The treasurers did not produce accounts, public monies passed through private accounts.’ ‘I do not know by whom or for what purpose,’ said one treasurer when £1500 was found in the bank under his name ‘A. Doig’, Corruption and Misconduct in Contemporary British Politics(Penguin, 1984), p. 62.Google Scholar
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    See J. Gerrard, Leadership and Power in Victorian Industrial Towns 1830–1880, Manchester University Press, 1983, p. 81. Also A. Briggs noted that in Birmingham from 1869, ‘there was a tradition that the town clerk carried on his private business as a solicitor as well’, in A. Briggs, Victorian Cities(Penguin, 1968), p. 238.Google Scholar
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    See D. Fraser, Urban Politics in Victorian England(Macmillan, 1979), p. 148.Google Scholar
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    See P. J. Waller, Town, City and Nation England 1850–1914(Oxford University Press, 1983), pp. 282–3.Google Scholar
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    See J. Garrard, Leadership and Power in Victorian Industrial Towns 1830–1880 (Manchester University Press, 1983), p. 73.Google Scholar
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    See P. J. Waller, Town, City and Nation England 1850–1914(Oxford University Press, 1983), p. 308.Google Scholar
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    See comments by D. Rosenberg, ‘The politics of role in local government’, in Local Government Studies, January/February, 1984.Google Scholar
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    See H. Elcock, ‘Tradition and change in Labour Party politics’, in Political Studies, vol. XXIX, no. 1, March 1981.Google Scholar
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    See ibid., p. 113.Google Scholar
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    See R. Greenwood, C. R. Hinings and S. Ranson, ‘A Rejoinder to Danziger’s Comment’, in Political Studies, vol. XXIV, no. 1, 1976, p. 117.Google Scholar
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    See D. Rosenberg, ‘The Politics of Role in Local Government’, in Local Government Studies, January/February 1984.Google Scholar
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    See J. M. Danziger, Making Budgets(Sage Publications. 1978) n. 205Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    See J. Stewart, ‘From Growth to Standstill’, in M. Wright (ed), Public Spending Decisions(Allen and Unwin, 1980).Google Scholar
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    See A. Pettigrew, Information Control as a Power Resource in Sociology, vol. 6, no. 2, May 1982.Google Scholar
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    See A. Sbragia, Capital Markets and Central-Local Politics iri liritain: the double game(Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University 1983),p. 38.Google Scholar
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    See J. Stanyer, Understanding Local Government(Fontana-Collins, 1976); J. Stewart, Local Government: the Conditions of local choice(Allen and Unwin, 1983).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Wai Fong Chua, Tony Lowe and Tony Puxty 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Rosenberg

There are no affiliations available

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