The Local Government Act 2000 sought to modernise local authorities and encourage democratic renewal through the introduction of new constitutions. Councils had the choice of four options for their political management arrangements. The most radical involved two forms of elected mayors, the third the establishment of a leader and cabinet system. At a late stage in the legislative timetable and after intense lobbying by smaller authorities, alternative arrangements were introduced for authorities with populations under 85,000 permitting the maintenance of a streamlined committee system was. Alternative arrangements were also permitted as a fallback position in the event of a failure to seek approval for one of the executive options at referendum. This issue paper focuses on the experience of the authorities who operate as alternative arrangement authorities.