The Scottish Housing Plan system was intended to bring about a radical change in the relationship between central and local government, by giving authorities greater scope to devise policies relative to local needs. In practice, Housing Plans provide a formal framework around which bargaining and negotiation takes place. Developments since 1979, however, have resulted in the abandonment of local government having a central, comprehensive role in housing provision. The Housing Plan system has had an important influence on the pattern of central-local relations, but the original hopes for the Housing Plan system, of a more rational, integrated approach, remain unfulfilled. The air of technocratic dominance which featured heavily in the theoretical arguments for the system has been superseded by the operation of political bargaining. Housing Plans are a key mechanism within the policy framework, although not in the way intended by its progenitors.