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People-Sized Government: Lessons from Norwegian local democracy
Thu 9 March 2017, 17:30 – 19:30 GMT
Sponsored by Maree Todd MSP
Supported by the Scottish Government
Speakers:Frode Lindtvedt, Director of Local Democracy, International Politics and External Affairs at KS and Councillor David O'Neill, President of COSLA
Scotland has the largest councils in Europe, serving on average 170,000 people. The European average is 14,000. It's thought that the remoteness of Scottish 'local' government contributes to our low turnout rates – 38% at the last council elections. Now the Convention Of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) have both called for large councils to be broken up.
Can Scotland afford more genuinely local democracy? Would it lead to a plethora of Directors of Education all paid twice the salary of the First Minister? How would councils in economically deprived areas manage if they relied on their own localities for income? Would it break the bank to pay more councilors £16,000 each a year? How do other countries do it?
Norway and Scotland have similar sizes of population. But Scotland has only 32 councils while Norway has 429. Norwegians have just rejected proposals to merge councils to save money. Why? And how can they make powerful town council, people-sized, government work without duplication of work or corruption?
Frode Lindvedt is the Director of Local Democracy, International Politics and External Affairs at the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities / Kommunenes Sentralforbund (KS), the Norwegian equivalent of COSLA.
The event will be followed by drinks at Hemma, Swedish bar, on Holyrood Road, close to Parliament. The bar serves food.
Please note that Parliament security require the names of all registrants. Please register each person in your group separately. Thank you
Dan and the Nordic Horizons team