The curious absence of inter-municipal co-operation in England

Josephine T. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Europe local authorities often work with their neighbouring municipalities, whether to address a specific task or goal or through the course of regular policy making and implementation. In England, however, inter-municipal co-operation (IMC) is less common. Councils may work with service providers from the private and non-profit sectors but less often with neighbouring local authorities. Why this is the case may be explained by a number of historical and policy factors that often encourage councils to compete, rather than to work collaboratively with each other. The present government has encouraged councils to work in partnership with other organizations but there are few examples of increased horizontal cooperation between local authorities. Instead the prevailing model remains fixed on vertical co-working predicated on a principal-agent relationship between higher and lower tiers of government.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-334
Number of pages16
JournalPublic Policy and Administration
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • competition
  • cooperation
  • local government partnerships


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