This chapter deals with consumer accountability. It suggests that the development of consumerist devices was the most important legacy to democratic practices of the past two decades, although consumerism is best seen as a difference of emphasis, and not as a wide-scale theory of government. It examines the implications for local government of the Citizen's Charter and the statutory recognition of consumer choice, both individually and collectively, especially in the field of education. It places mechanisms for complaining about local services, both internal to local authorities and to the Local Ombudsman within a democratic context. A less generous lien of criticism sees consumerism as an attempt to increase the control of central government by imposing national standards or creating a direct relationship between users of local services and national bodies.
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