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This CIMA research report focuses on post-1997 policy innovations for the public sector and their impact on traditional budgeting practices. In light of recent failures to reform local budgeting post 1997, it seeks to distinguish between original intentions of reform and their consequences offering alternatives to local government modernisation, appropriate changes in strategic partnerships, and new organisational structures. The key question for the report is the extent to which it is possible or useful to reform traditional practices, paying particular emphasis to the nature of modernisation in the governmental post 1997 period. The report includes an in-depth investigation into two case authorities in the UK. The analysis will include findings from sources beyond the finance divisions of these authorities. The study is comprehensive, insightful and practical focussed.The authors concentrate their investigation on a longitudinal field study of budgetary practice in two large and contrasting English local and produce a detailed comparison of the two cases. The report concludes with recommendations to users of local government budgeting. The final chapter discusses the comparison of the two cases. It provides us with a number of concluding observations: e.g. There is a need for more participation in budgeting and especially a more credible system for schools to get involved in the budget setting process and if the school's budgeting system is to remain centralised or become even more centralised then policy makers need to have a better knowledge of educational cost drivers.This is a pioneering study evaluating individual service areas as opposed to ranking of overall corporate performance and offering a pragmatic solution to local government modernisation. It is the first comprehensive investigation of two vastly different geographical locations of UK. It aids understanding by analysing and producing a detailed comparison of two local authorities.