In 1997 community leadership was placed at the heart of local government reform. However, despite policy commitments, its manifestation remains limited. This article explores why, beginning from a position that the term 'community leadership' is an elastic one containing multiple meanings. Informed by the interpretivism advocated by Bevir and Rhodes, four interpretations of community leadership are identified and discussed. Each is rooted in specific local government traditions and supported by policy and practice evidence. The delineation of these interpretations makes clear that each has different implications for the future of local government that need to be more fully understood. © The Policy Press, 2007.
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