Two cheers for the concordat
Examination of the French Constitutional Code
Author: Roger Gough and Claude Willan |
Two Cheers for the Concordat
French local government practice is set out in the Constitutional Code. The relationship between central and local governments is characterised in the following terms:
“the autonomy guaranteed by the Constitution has to be respected by Parliament when regulating local government by law, as it is entitled to do …There is a core ? undetermined ? which should not be infringed by acts of Parliament.”
So it’s not just us. An element of uncertainty and indeterminacy runs through relations between central and local government. However, the historic informality of the UK’s constitutional arrangements, coupled with the emergence of a powerful central executive, has meant that ‘undetermined’ arrangements have worked against local government and contributed to the extraordinary degree of centralisation seen in the UK ? or, more recently, in England ? in recent decades. Gordon Brown’s announcement in the summer that a Concordat between central and local government should be examined, while almost cryptic in its lack of detail, raised the intriguing question of whether and how the relationship could bemore clearly defined, and if so in whose interests this would work. The Concordat was negotiated and duly signed on 12 December.