They conclude that:
- changes in the legislative framework for local government during the 1980s and 1990s have seriously eroded the scope for choice and variety in local government policy-making and implementation. Financial constraints have also been important in restricting choice.
- greater scope for choice exists in some policy areas, such as local economic development, than in others, such as the local management of schools
- The scope for local authorities to exercise their preferred political choices now depends very significantly on whether these are compatible with the direction of government policy.
- Local government has acquired significant new areas of responsibility and had its role in others confirmed, even if some of these accretions of responsibility are seriously hedged about
- authorities may still exercise choices through their roles as providers, purchasers and contractors for services