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Law, Politics, and Local Democracy$
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Ian Leigh

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198256984

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198256984.001.0001

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Information, Public Participation, and Accountability

Information, Public Participation, and Accountability

(p.68) (p.69) 3 Information, Public Participation, and Accountability
Law, Politics, and Local Democracy

Ian Leigh

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with the matter which is necessarily underlying local representative democracy: the provision of information to the electorate. Freedom of information is an important aspect but it is only a part. The discussion considers public rights of information in local government business and the legal regime for consultation and participation of the public in decision-making, including the use of novel devices such as local referendums, citizens' juries, and focus groups. It also notes that communication is a two-way process, if only because local politicians hope to be re-elected. It also discusses broader controls on freedom of expression, especially those which prohibit the use of council resources in political advertising. It notes that in an environment where councils attempt to establish credibility and democratic legitimacy by being open and responsive to the public, the significance of legal controls can flourish.

Keywords:   local manifesto, council publicity, political advertising, free speech, information access, transparency

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