A culture of resistance is frustrating Birmingham's attempts to bring 'power to the people', a critical inquiry has found.
The benefits of devolution from the Council House to 11 mini-town halls have not been fully accepted and there is evidence of management inaction, according to a scrutiny committee investigation.
A #1.3 million transitional budget has been swallowed up and office costs for the district committees are running at #300,000 more than estimated.
But the report also points out that it is impossible to say exactly how much devolution has cost the council since the new system cannot be compared with the old.
A hard-hitting 186-page scrutiny report urges council leader Mike Whitby and chief executive Stephen Hughes to use their authority to "give clarity and remove resistance" by underlining the importance of devolution.
"We see the need for a strong signal from the executive that devolution is a lasting feature of our landscape.
"This should start at the very top with the leader of the council and the chief executive underlining the clear message of its permanence and importance," the report adds.
Introduced two years ago, the devolution and localisation agenda was supposed to improve services at local level by bringing decision-making closer to communities.
Eleven district committees were handed multi-million pound budgets and given responsibility for libraries, museums, parks, waste disposal, car parks and community development.
The scrutiny review found the district committees were operating with "inadequate and unstable" financial information and there was a feeling of frustration that devolution had run out of steam and that the policy was in danger of being axed.
Attempts by the committees to make a difference at community level were falling foul of existing Service Level Agreements - contracts approved in the past by the council setting out street cleaning and rubbish collection duties on a city-wide basis.
The scrutiny inquiry was unable to establish whether devolution had been introduced on a cost-neutral basis, as the council leadership had promised.
The investigation also heard of tensions between the council cabinet and district committee chairmen.
There were frequent and uncoordinated budget changes imposed on the districts largely due to "poor planning" by the centre.
Coun Len Clark (Con Quinton), who took part in the scrutiny inquiry, said last night that the council was failing to give enough priority to the delivery of devolution.
Coun Clark added: "It is difficult to imagine that the structures and systems in place at the moment are going to lead to effective improvement in delivery of services. If devolution doesn't accomplish that, it has failed."