UK governments of different types have attempted to create new forms of subnational democracy and to decentralise power for the past two decades. However, by international standards, political control – within England at least – remains highly centralised.

The Institute for Government's work programme on new forms of local democracy is looking at how government can decentralise, and at helping different layers of government to work better together. In this report we attempt to address these challenges in two ways. First, we take a look at the current devolution deals process in England – discussing its history and analysing the opportunities and challenges that it presents for achieving more effective government. Second, we present a framework – developed from a recent project in which we looked closely at devolution in one particular policy area – which aims to help guide decision makers across different policy areas as well to consider what powers to devolve, and how to devolve them.

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