This is the foundation text for the series and introduces key governance issues for promoting just and democratic governance at the local level. The resource book presents a people centred, participatory and rights based approach to local democracy. It analyses democratic and decentralised local government and explores the challenges faced by civil society in championing this vision. It examines the crucial link between the political mandates that determine the scope for local democracy, and the fiscal and administrative requirements needed to support them. Closely connected to this is the interaction between elected and administrative power holders on the one hand and citizens, their accountability work, and claims for voice and representation on the other. Finally, the resource book also considers the interplay between formal democratic power versus hidden or parallel power.