Subnational Governance and Development: A New Perspective

Subnational Governance and Development: A New Perspective

Jenny Hodgson, Peter McKinlay, Barry Knight
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1645-3.ch019
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This chapter examines how the practice of governance, especially at a subnational level, has been evolving since the 1990s, focusing on the implications for “community governance”. An overview of recent thinking on the nature of governance opens up the question of whether “governance” may be exercised through institutions entirely separate from government. Examples are considered from Australia's experience with “community banking”, and from trusts and foundations that have emerged from major public sector restructuring. The chapter considers the work of the Global Fund for Community Foundations as an important civil society contribution to subnational governance in developing countries, examining the role of foundations in building capacity and capability in disadvantaged communities through a new approach grounded in an understanding of “community governance”. Overall the chapter argues for a broadening in the understanding of governance, from what governments do to encompassing how our communities come together to shape their own futures.
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Background: Changing Understandings Of Subnational Governance

Current thinking about governance has been changing from “what governments do” to the potential for communities to be at least in part “self-governing”. Two decades ago, in their influential book Reinventing Government, Osborne and Gaebler described governance in these terms:

Governance is the process by which we collectively solve our problems and meet our society’s needs. Government is the instrument we use. (Osborne & Gaebler, 1992, p. 24)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Community Foundation and Community Philanthropy Organization: In the United States – where the community foundation concept originated – the community foundation can be described in clear legal terms (involving strict requirements around managements and disbursal of resources) and in terms of field-wide standards defined by various different umbrella and membership organisations. As the concept has spread around the world, the model Western structure of community foundations has been reshaped to reflect the needs and contexts of different societies and to describe a larger family of “community philanthropy organisations’ that include community foundations as well as community funds, women’s funds, environmental funds and other grassroots grant makers. As efforts are made to expand and support the field, this more inclusive approach is reflected in a looser use of terminology (community foundation and / or community philanthropy organisation) that points to a set of organisations that are strengthening community capacities and voice, building assets and strengthening social capital within and across communities.

Community Banking: Describes a particular form of franchising in which a commercial bank grants a franchise to a community owned entity to operate a branch of the bank under a profit-sharing arrangement designed to generate a flow of income to be shared at the local level between the owners of the entity, and the community or communities which it serves.

Community: A term commonly used to describe a group or groups defined by a shared interest. The interest itself may be geographic in the sense of referring to people living within a specific geographic area, it may be interest based in terms of ethnicity, faith, demography, economic activity (as in “the business community”) or some other common characteristic.

Community Trusts: The term applied to a group of trusts which were established in New Zealand in the early 1990s to receive the ownership of the companies which resulted from the corporatisation of New Zealand's regional savings banks, and to hold the resultant income and capital for the benefit of the communities which those banks had served.

Framework for Community Philanthropy: This framework emerged out of the analysis data collected by the Global Fund for Community Foundations and was further strengthened through a series of consultations hosted by the Aga Khan Foundation USA and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in the United States, Bangladesh and South Africa which also emphasised the key characteristics of community philanthropy as: “organised and structured, self-directed, open architecture, civil society, using own money and assets and building an inclusive and equitable society.”

Co-Governance: Describes a situation in which an institution of government shares with one or more entities, typically community-based organisations, the decision right in respect of a matter over which the institution has the formal decision-making power.

Community Philanthropy: In its broadest sense describes the different ways in which communities have traditionally shared financial or other assets to support their mutual or collective well-being: it is an age-old behaviour that is evident in all cultures around the world. In the context of more recent efforts to harness community philanthropy a a strategy for enhancing locally owned development, a “community philanthropy approach” identifies local assets – financial and otherwise – and builds capacities and trust for addressing community needs and priorities.

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