Community and Local Governance

School: School of Government and Society
Institute of Local Government Studies

Modular value: 20 credits
Duration: One 2 day and 3 day seminars (Five day module)

Module convenor: Philip Whiteman

This module provides both a theoretical and practical exploration of the principles and practices of local governance in a contemporary context.

The module explores theories and models of democratic local governance, principles of community leadership and citizen engagement and the roles of elected representatives in the governance of local communities. It examines the developing agenda of concern to develop stronger local government and particularly to build trust and confidence among citizens at the neighbourhood and community level. It considers the principles of community leadership and the various approaches and initiatives now being pursued in this regard together with their impacts.

Teaching and Learning approach

Unit 1

  • Introduction
  • Government to Governance
  • Communities: what are they?
  • Communities: Consolidation of the day.
  • Community theory vs practice
  • Problematising communities
  • Document Analysis
  • Document Analysis and Assignment 1 discussion.
  • Institutional development of participation
  • The development of institutional participation. Problems. Policy change and policy challenges
  • Elected mayors. Introduction and case study

Unit 2

  • Consolidation
  • Leadership and participation top down
  • Leadership and participation bottom up?
  • Leadership and participation. Case studies, discussion and consolidation.
  • Leadership and participation, discussion and consolidation.
  • The role of elected representatives
  • Networks, partnerships and community governance
  • Tensions and issues.
  • Module consolidation. Assignment 2 discussion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module participants should be able to

  • Examine and assess the characteristics of community governance and leadership in the UK
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of different community governance and leadership ideas, concepts and frameworks
  • Show awareness of the key debates and challenges concerning community governance and leadership
  • Understand the rationale for and the interest in working at a community level
  • Show that they are familiar with relevant academic and practitioner literature on community governance and leadership
  • Demonstrate that you are able to relate theory to practice
  • Develop their capacity to write clearly and analytically on community governance and leadership matters
  • Gain new knowledge and skills that help them to understand and analyse complex intellectual problems


  • 2 x 3,000 word assignments

Related courses:

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.