The impact of local government decentralisation on the people of Drumchapel
This study is concerned with the impacts of local government decentralisation on the lives of the people of Drumchapel. The dramatic changes associated with the British state and civil society in the 1980s serves as a starting point. As a decade, the 1980s witnessed major economic restructuring, and more significantly in relation to this work, upheaval in the structure and function of the welfare state. A substantial component of the welfare state is local government service provision, which has been directly challenged by central government initiated change, and indirectly challenged by the changing conditions of civil society. At the close of the 1980s, the once universally accepted pattern of provision had radically altered, and in some instances a mixed economy of welfare had become established. Restructuring is of significance to this work for two related reasons. Firstly, some of the explanations for decentralisation are related to restructuring, and the nature of developments in Drumchapel are intimately connected with such changes. Secondly, a marginalisation of some sections of British society has taken place, and arguably an underclass of people who are largely excluded from mainstream society has come into being. As a concept, the underclass is of direct relevance to Drumchapel (see below).Decentralisation is the core concept of this work. It has been welcomed as: "a new managerial paradigm bringing with it increased efficiency, flexibility and customer responsiveness, and also as a new political paradigm, bringing gains in terms of increased accountability and citizen participation" (Loundes 1991, p. 19). During the 1980s, decentralisation was broadly seen as a solution to many of the problems local government faced, including being part of the solution to financial constraints and to the problems associated with local government, in particular, excessive bureaucracy and remoteness from the public.