Committee to explore what works in local government


Exploring how local government works and what lessons can be learned for Scotland will be the focus for members of the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee when they meet with officials in Germany, Denmark and Sweden.

The visit is taking place as the Committee begins its inquiry into the flexibility and autonomy of local government. During the visit the members will meet with members of the Hamburg State Parliament, the Danish Ministry of Local Government, the Association of Danish Local Municipalities as well as State and Municipal government in Sweden to find out how different aspects of local government operate and engage with the people they represent.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Committee Convener Kevin Stewart MSP said:

“Our inquiry is about looking at Scottish local government and making sure that it has the tools and flexibility necessary to deliver for people across all of the different parts of Scotland. Whilst there are many excellent examples of best practice in Scotland, by looking beyond our own borders we can find ideas and inspiration to build on.

“During our visit we will see first-hand how local government works elsewhere. We will have the chance to hear how different countries deal with some of the issues which we all face.

“Using the opportunity of the parliamentary recess to examine three quite different approaches operated by our European neighbours  will help us build better public services for Scotland. This will ensure they continue to meet the needs of communities they serve.” 


Launched in February 2014, the Committee’s inquiry into the future of local government will explore whether local government has the necessary flexibility, autonomy and constitutional mechanisms in place to meet the ongoing and future needs of communities across Scotland.

Specifically, it will examine—

  • Contrast the position of local government with the constitutional and legal framework in neighbouring EU jurisdictions;
  • Examine the level of public engagement and interaction with local government, including turnout at local elections;
  • Consider the legal and constitutional funding mechanisms available to local government;
  • Consider how remote, peripheral or island communities are accommodated within the local government structures, and
  • Consider the level of legal flexibility, and autonomy from central government, which local government enjoys.

Three Committee members will undertake the visit, which will see the Committee travel to Hamburg before travelling to Denmark the following day. The final day of the visit will see the Committee undertake a series of meetings in Malmo before returning to the UK.

The members attending the visit are:

Kevin Stewart MSP
Mark McDonald MSP
Anne McTaggart MSP

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