'The Gershon review, however déja vu or irksome it may seem, could be a very positive force for change. Those who would belittle it as a cost-cutting ruse should be strongly resisted,' said Mr Strachan.
'The test is not just its effect on the spending review, but whether it provokes long-term change in the relation between central and local government.'
He described the four 'lubricants' to that change as delegation of funding and decision making, integration of services and funding streams at a local level, strategic regulation, and behavioural change.
'We need at the very least families of regulators, for example in health or in criminal justice, with the head of each family having the power to say no and to restrain,' he said.