Managing Local Governments

Designing Management Control Systems that Deliver Value

By Emanuele Padovani, David W. Young

© 2012 – Routledge

352 pages | 34 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415783309
pub: 2011-12-16
US Dollars$59.95
Hardback: 9780415783293
pub: 2011-12-16
US Dollars$170.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Local Government is an area where management skills are tested to the extreme. With political considerations evident both locally and nationally, managing resources can be complex and subject to change.

This book introduces new concepts and new ways of doing business that can greatly enhance the value of the services a local government provides to its citizens, without putting a greater financial burden on taxpayers. Padovani and Young present out-of-the-box thinking based on solid research and experience to discuss topics such as:

  • Incorporating outcome indicators into strategic planning and budgeting
  • Building a LG’s budget with ‘cost drivers’
  • Expanding the concept of ‘enterprise funds’
  • Assessing and better managing the risk associated with outsourcing
  • Using the concept of ‘shadow pricing’ to compare public with private sector costs for services

This book is a must-read for students of public administration and management, senior and middle managers in local governments around the world, and citizens who are concerned with more effective management of their local government’s programs and services.

A list of suggested extra case studies for each chapter, and a description of the process to follow for ordering them, may be obtained by sending an email to You should request the document "Case Study Suggestions for Managing Local Governments".


'Padovani and Young have produced the definitive textbook on management control systems for local government. A must for all students of public policy, public administration and public management.'

Stephen P. Osborne, Professor of International Public Management, University of Edinburgh Business School, UK

'This book by Padovani and Young recognizes the specificity of local government, it raises new answers to old questions, and it provides an operational view of responsibility centers. Padovani and Young do this in a very convincing way since the examples and the cases demonstrate scholarly evidence as well as a thorough knowledge of best practices.'

Geert Bouckaert, Director Public Management Institute, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

'Padovani and Young have written an insightful book for managing local governments. It is highly comprehensive and balanced with financial and non-financial perspectives, which has rarely been done. This book should be read by anyone interested in public sector management. With new concepts and useful examples, the authors show how local governments can enhance the value of their services.'

Kiyoshi Yamamoto, Professor of Financial Management, The University of Tokyo, Japan

'Padovani and Young have made an important contribution to public sector management, not only in local governments, but more broadly as well. Their book can help to improve how public sector managers think at both strategic and operational levels. With intense citizen scrutiny over the public sector, this book is long overdue.'

Leslie K. Breitner, McGill University, Canada

'Padovani and Young’s important book makes clear that new ways of thinking about management and budgets are critical at a time of fiscal strain. Students moving into careers in 21st century local governments will benefit greatly from this book’s presentation of the tools available to exercise much-needed control over spending, revenues, and results.'

Sid Gardner, President, Children and Family Futures, Irvine, USA

'Written in a clear and challenging way, this book confronts the complexity of managing and steering local authorities whilst putting forward a strong vision, but remaining relevant to the specifics of the subject matter. At a time when the economic crisis will force communities to move from control of the resources to control of expenses, a book that draws from the dual experience of being both closely involved and somewhat distanced, bodes well for the readers who will thus be able to trigger ambitious changes, done in a rational way!'

Robert Fouchet, Director of Institut de Management Public et Gouvernance Territoriale, Université Paul Cézanne, France

Table of Contents

1. The Context for Management Control Systems in Local Governments 2. Management Control Systems: An Overview 3. Barriers to Effective Management Control in Local Governments 4. The Structure for Management Control 5. Programming 6. Budgeting 7. Measuring Full Costs and Setting Prices 8. Measuring Differential Costs and Assessing Outsourcing Opportunities 9. Measuring Performance 10. Reporting and Action 11. The Organizational Context for a LG’s Management Control System

About the Authors

Emanuele Padovani is Associate Professor of Accounting and Control in the Public Sector at the University of Bologna, Italy. He has done extensive research and consultancy activities on public management with specific reference to management control, outsourcing, and financial and non-financial performance measurement and management

David W. Young is Professor of Management, Emeritus, at the School of Management, Boston University, USA, where he was affiliated with the Public and Nonprofit Management Program. He teaches at Harvard University’s School of Public Health, and is a visiting professor at IESE Business School, Reykjavik University, the University of Pisa, and the University of Bologna

About the Series

Routledge Masters in Public Management

Routledge Masters in Public Management is a series of original texts which offers students and practitioners a concise, coordinated and comprehensive learning resource.

The series benefits from a coordinated format, including the use of such pedagogical features as learning points, text boxes, annotated further reading and questions for further discussion. Each volume in the series stands in its own right as a textbook which is essential reading for a particular module in a public management degree scheme. Taken together, the series offers an integrated and up-to-date collection of core textbooks and supplementary reading that can provide the backbone of any student’s study of public management – whether based upon an MBA or MPA programme, a stand-alone course or through a period of individual study. Taking an expert look at an increasingly important and complex discipline, this is a groundbreaking series.

The resources represented in this series go beyond the “toolkit” or “recipe” format which does not reflect the way working in the public sector actually happens. Rather, the series encourages the reader to develop the core managerial skills and critical thinking required to excel in this discipline.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Nonprofit Organizations & Charities
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration