The continued failure to provide public services both to agreed standards and electorate expectations is one of the major problems of modern government.
Drawing on the experience of government in the UK and beyond, this book considers the ways in which public institutions have tried to adapt to meet new demands.
The author argues that there is a common inability to connect ideas and decisions between politicians and those responsible for managing public sector organisations, and discusses in detail the initiatives launched in the UK to establish a new approach to management, particularly 'Next Steps' and 'Executive Agencies'.
By analysing public sector management in a number of countries since the reforms of the 1980s, this valuable book examines past problems and suggests future improvements to the ways in which public services should be managed, including the development of relations between politicians and officials and ways to improve decision taking and management for government. As a senior official in Mrs Thatcher's government, the author describes in detail and from the inside the process of planning and introducing 'executive agencies', a major change in one of the largest governments in the world.
She emphasises the intense difficulty involved in getting agreement to change and to implement decisions, discussing the problems of conflicting objectives between politicians and officials in dealing with the practicalities of managing large public sector institutions. The UK experience of 'executive agencies' has been influential across the world and in many countries.
This book describes how the UK system was devised and introduced. This book will appeal to an international spectrum of academics and students, especially those involved in public sector reform and public sector management, and political decision taking.
It will also be of great interest to contemporary historians of the Thatcher period and beyond, as well as politicians and commentators concerned with government reform, public sector management and the role of politicians.