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Advocacy and Lobbying by a Local Government Association

Guidance and systemization of experiences

Decentralisation of public functions and resources brings government closer to local people. Decentralisation allows them greater influence on how government is exercised locally. Decentralisation does not happen all at once. It takes years. Central government must be willing to decentralise functions and resources (fiscal decentralisation). They must be confident that local governments can do a good job. Local governments must demonstrate that they are competent. To do this well, local government needs a strong Local Government Association (LGA). LGAs have a particularly important role where (further) decentralisation needs to be advocated. A key role of the LGA is to articulate the needs and concerns of local government to central government. Where members’ needs surveys have been conducted, advocacy and lobbying always appear near or at the top of the list of most important LGA activities. Therefore, the LGA bears a responsibility to lobby on behalf of local governments. It must advocate legitimate policies and positions that will serve the interest of local government. It must be able to communicate and persuade. The LGA needs to use the best advocacy and lobbying techniques, and to present its principles and plans in an Advocacy Strategy. A strong LGA provides strong advocacy and shows the capacity for good lobbying. This Handbook is designed to help LGAs develop their Advocacy and Lobbying Strategy, so do not hesitate to use it as a guide!

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