Recent trends have not favoured devolution as a decentralization technique. Although governments have started to devolve responsibilities to reformed local government institutions. The change may reflect two developments: first, the growing desire to find new ways of mobilizing local resources; and second, the recognition that local government employees could be used more efficiently than they have been. By itself, however, devolution can do little to compensate for a general shortage of technical and administrative skills. If other tiers of government have difficulty obtaining qualified staff, local government will find it even harder: in developing countries, its salaries are typically only half those paid by central government. Nor can local government enjoy genuine autonomy when, as usually happens, it depends on central grants for the bulk of its budget. The revival of local government therefore depends on vigorous action to raise more local revenues.
Decentralizing has also taken the form either of privatization or of involving communities in the execution of projects.
User charges in public services can improve efficiency if local public institutions such as clinics or schools are given greater responsibility for collecting them and choosing how to spend the proceeds. Equity can be maintained by public transfers given directly to individuals according to need (and, for education, on merit) to spend at the public or private facility of their choice. A more modest approach is to distribute subsidies according to the economic need of localities or neighbourhood groups. But funding should be such as to maintain the local community's incentive to collect its own revenue.