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Guidance for central government engagement with local government

Issue date: 
Thursday, 20 June 2019
Issue status: 
Published by: 

In August 2018, a working group of representatives from central and local government was established to co-produce guidance on how central government can engage effectively with local government.

The Policy Project within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet moderated that group, and also organised a workshop  with a wider group of central and local government representatives.

The guidance reflects the views of the working group and workshop participants that engaging early on policy development and holding ongoing strategic discussions are necessary to build an enduring partnership between the two spheres of government.

An executive summary sets out the key information contained within the four sections of the document.

Section 1: Introduction – Vision, purpose and spectrum of engagement

Section 1 establishes the vision and purpose for effective central and local government engagement. It defines engagement on a spectrum, and describes various engagement approaches and their level of impact on decision-making. For each level on the spectrum it suggests an undertaking to local government on central government's approach to engagement.

Section 2: Principles of partnership and engagement between central and local government

Section 2 of the guidance sets out the principles of partnership and engagement between central and local government. 

Section 3: Understanding central and local government roles, responsibilities and relationships

Section 3 sets out the roles, responsibilities and relationships within central and local government that are integral to improving engagement. It provides contextual information about the operating environments of both spheres of government, including the pressures and challenges faced by local government.

Section 4: Engagement with local government: approach, methods and tools

Section 4 provides practical guidance for understanding when engagement with local government would be expected, as well as a range of engagement approaches, methods, and tools to use. The various groups within local government that provide opportunities to engage are described. The guidance also contains a description of good engagement practice for policy-makers when undertaking particular policy activities.


At the end of document, resources are provided that further describe the value and purpose for engaging with local government on strategic issues and policy development. You can also find case studies of central and local government engagement, and information on the regulatory responsibilities of local government.

Last updated: 
Thursday, 13 June 2019

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