The issue of departmentalism has been a recurring theme in discussions about UK local government. In this article the implications of the Labour Government's modernization agenda for departmentalism in local authorities are considered and assessed. In particular, the potential impact of the political management reforms, Best Value, the rise of the regulation agenda and community governance and partnership working is discussed. An analysis of executive committees, scrutiny committees and Best Value investigations in the shire counties and the London boroughs and a case study of Devon County Council are used to support this discussion. The article concludes that the modernization agenda is exerting pressure towards more cross-departmental models of working.