The problem of adjusting the units and areas of local government to meet changing conditions seems to be a universal one. It involves not only the question of procedure, but also the quest of the ideal. With the exception of school districts, extensive experimentation has not been forthcoming in the United States; other English-speaking countries have been far more concerned with local units and areas.
The present paper deals with the experiences of four central governments—England and Wales, New Zealand, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. None of them has found the ideal system. All have evolved various successful techniques to adjust local units and areas from time to time.
Widespread interest in reorganizing the areas and units of local government in England and Wales has been evident since before 1944. During the period 1943 to 1945, numerous individuals and groups came forward with plans for reform, among them the Labor party, the Liberal party, the Liberal National Committee, the National Association of Local Government Officers, the Association of Municipal Corporations, the County Councils Association, and the Urban and Rural Districts Associations. Proposals by the two Liberal groups, the counties, and the urban and rural districts involved only minor variations from the existing local government structure. As a result, most interest was focused upon the NALGO and AMC reports calling for varying plans of single all-purpose authorities and on Labor's proposal for a two-tier structure.