Professor Michael Clarke, pro-vice chancellor of Birmingham University and a respected authority on local government, makes his claim in a study of Labour's record on local government published today by the European Policy Forum.
The old local authority associations were often accused of being reactive rather than proactive, he says. The creation of the LGA was a chance to focus more on independent thinking. 'The LGA has failed, as yet, to do this. It quickly became trapped in a committee structure which was largely conditioned by the traditional interests of local government and forced into an officer structure to support it.'
In contrast, the Welsh LGA 'devised a structure sharply at odds with the conventional local authority one, and an agenda and a way of working which was different too'.