This book explores the variety of ways in which local authorities have been attempting to get closer to the public they serve. It traces the emerging pressure for more responsive and accountable local government, examines the various initiatives from decentralisation through customer care to privatisation and discusses some of the questions posed by these new patterns of working. 'This informative and thought-provoking book... displaying the author's customary level of scholarship... should be required reading for all those who need to keep abreast of developments in local government'. - Michael Thrasher, Political Studies. "Goes way beyond the recycling of best practice case studies... useful though they are in accessible paperback form". C.Game, Local Government Chronicle.