As Archbishop of Westminster, Henry Edward Manning had been much involved in negotiations over the Elementary Education Act of 1870 (Forster’s Act), which aimed at establishing a national system of elementary education. By the early 1880s, Manning was dissatisfied with the operation of the Act, because the secular board schools, financed from rates, had become substantial competitors with the voluntary denominational schools, which were supposed to be the backbone of the system. This established, in effect, a dual system of secular and denominational education, which Manning believed the Act had never envisioned. He lobbied for a Royal Commission to amend the Act, which Lord Salisbury granted in 1886 (the Cross Commission), with Manning as a member. In his work on the Commission, Manning was motivated by three principles, which he believed were critical for the engagement of religious bodies with the liberal state. The first was cross-denominational collaboration in support of religious education. The second was voluntarism so as to prevent state control. The third was localism as opposed to centralization, which was eventually realized with the creation of County Councils by the Local Government Act of 1888, upon whom the supervision of schools eventually devolved.