The metagovernance of English devolution

Daniel Bailey, Matthew Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Metagovernance refers to a theory of how governments steer decentralised networks by indirectly shaping the rules and norms of those networks. This article develops metagovernance conceptually and empirically by looking at the use of ‘hand’s off’ metagovernance tools in the case of English devolution, which encompass the ‘designing’ and ‘framing’ of local governance networks in the process of their reconfiguration. These concepts provide insights into how a Conservative-led Coalition Government subtly centralised power in the process of devolution to City-Regions. Our analysis shows how discursive framing, fiscal conditioning, and the re-composition of local governance networks produced a re-working of centre-local and intra-local power relations in a way which allowed the Treasury to shape the priorities of a set of ‘devolution deals’ with regional authorities, emphasising boosting economic growth and improving public services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)966-991
JournalLocal Government Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2017


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