Policy Papers

History & Policy papers are written by expert historians, based on peer-reviewed research. They offer historical insights into current policy issues ranging from Afghanistan and Iraq, climate change and internet surveillance to family dynamics, alcohol consumption and health reforms. For historians interested in submitting a paper, please see the editorial guidelines.

Currently, 195 papers are freely searchable by theme, author or keyword, with new papers published regularly. Where possible, we publish papers to coincide with relevant policy developments. If you are a policy maker, civil society practitioner or journalist and would like to contact one of our historians, please contact historyandpolicy@kcl.ac.uk.

You can download H&P policy papers directly from the Apple iBooks store to your iPhone, iPad or Mac. We also have an Amazon Kindle version to download to your PC for transfer to your Kindle via USB cable. Please consult your Kindle manual for further details.


Centralism versus localism? Democracy versus efficiency? The perennial challenges of Scottish local government organisation

Whatever the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum, local government looks set for reform. Criticised for its disconnect with citizens today, Scotland's local government was not always so. The four major reorganisations since 1833 offer useful lessons and important lessons for today, argues Michael Pugh.

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The break-up of Czechoslovakia and Scottish independence

As the White Paper Scotland's Future is published, Dr Kieran Williams, of Drake University, examines Czechoslovakia's 'Velvet Divorce' of 1992 to reflect on the major issues for Scottish independence today. He argues that dissolving a federation (to create the Czech and Slovak republics) is very different from removing one part of an ongoing union - Scotland gaining independence from the UK.

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From Herbert Morrison to command and control: the decline of local democracy

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A central role for local government? The example of late Victorian Britain

With a dominant free market ideology, Britain by the 1860s had experienced several decades of rising social inequality and restricted resources for public services and local government. However, between 1865 and 1875 the prestige of local government was revolutionised and a model for popular, effective public services was developed by provincial business and community leaders. This flowering of British civic activism contributed to a massive improvement in urban health by 1914, with local government expenditure outstripping central government. History suggest that in the twenty-first century re-invigoration of independently-resourced elected local democracy is a key to reducing inequality and poverty.

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About Us


H&P is an expanding Partnership based at King's College London and the University of Cambridge, and additionally supported by the University of Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, the Open University, and the University of Sheffield.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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