whitehall

Power, money, but little accountability; the rise of the New Corporate State

Contracting out has become the ‘new normal’, writes Professor Stephen Wilks, with around half of all UK government spending now ending up in the pockets of private sector companies. But while public servants must operate within a robust constitutional framework, the same safeguards do not apply to the Public Services Industry. Which is the largest […]

Democracy Demands: Show Us The Money!

In the film Jerry Maguire, Cuba Gooding Jr. famously demands of his Agent Maguire (Tom Cruise) that he “show me the money”. The message (in context) is simple – no amount of smooth talking from his Agent is good enough – Gooding’s character wants to see the actual money. This is a good lesson to […]

Breakfast with Brown: What Should The Government Do?

After attending the Prime Ministers breakfast seminar in No. 10 on the future of public services my overwhelming feeling was that the government is still in thrall to the tyranny of the new. An underlying theme was that they needed something ‘new’ to offer.

The Invisible Hand’s Shadow

The shadow economy as an issue for public policy and public administration is something I have been banging on about for several years (see A False Economy, Public Finance, 2004). I recently tried to raise the issue at both the Treasury and Public Administration select committees. So I was pleased to see a fascinating paper by Sean […]

New EU concept paper on Public Service Reform

A very useful new ‘concept paper‘ has just been published by the European Commission, authored mainly by UK professor Norman Flynn. Aimed at the development community, it will nevertheless be of interest to all scholars and practitioners of public management.

Rate your doctor on-line? – another Whitehall-centric initiative

Even when the Government claims to be ‘empowering patients’ it manages to do it in a Whitehall-centric way.

Modernising Government Mk II: ‘Working Together’

Back in 1999 ‘Modernising Government’ was finally published. After nearly two years gestation the general verdict was that it was indeed an elephant – huge, sprawling and ungainly. Everything including the kitchen-sink had been thrown into the lengthy, turgid and mind-numbingly boring document. Well, now we have Modernising Government II – or ‘Working Together: Public […]

Gizza Job? Jobcentres Plus stitched up by Minister.

“Gizza job”, those with long-enough memories will recall, was the catch phrase of the central character- Yosser Hughes – in Alan Bleasedale’s very dark BBC TV comedy ‘The Boys from the Blackstuff’ which aired in the middle of another big recession (1982).

From CPA to CAA – Local Government Gets Lost in Translation?

The Audit Commission published its final CPA (comprehensive performance assessment) report on English local government this week.

Government Learning – an oxymoron?

A new NAO Report – Helping Government Learn – sets out to encourage better policies and practice for ‘organisational learning’ in government.