Decentralisation distributes political and economic power more broadly, with a desired outcome of increased ability to meet the needs of the local populace, particularly the poorest or most disadvantaged. Decentralisation can be of economic decision making, such as on investment, or in justice provision or other services traditionally provided from the centre. Whatever the sector, the expectation is that accountability is enhanced because local representatives are more accessible and accountable for their policies and outcomes.
Many believe that decentralisation has further benefits in empowering people, allowing them to be active participants in decision making at a local level, and enabling them to bring about positive change. While the literature is not conclusive, there is evidence of a relationship between decentralisation and democracy, with the former able to strengthen the latter.
How can we rethink how services are provided to ensure they are truly accessible, accountable and inclusive? What are the conditions needed, locally and nationally, to be successful?