This paper investigates how local authorities in Northern Ireland have dealt with the consultation aspect of the Best Value initiative, with specific reference to engagement with stakeholders. Having briefly looked at the history of, and the rationale behind, Best Value and the requirements it places on local authorities, some of the disadvantages of the scheme are outlined. The paper then introduces some of the tenets of stakeholder theory, particularly those of Freeman, and investigates the wide range of stakeholders that any council will have. The responsibilities of a Northern Ireland local authority are then compared with those of one in England, and other differences pertaining todemographics are explored. Then the results of a document content analysis of both Corporate Plans and Best Value Performance Plans are presented, with each Northern Ireland local authority being placed in a certain category depending on how they are dealing with the question of consultation, and interacting with their stakeholders. The paper concludes by surmising that it is a moot point whether all stakeholders can ever meaningfully play their part in a local authority’s decision-making process; however, there are encouraging signs that local authorities are making progress towards engaging with their stakeholders.
|Journal||Journal of Finance and Management in Public Services|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|