Category Archives: Public Administration

Local Government Strategies in an Age of Austerity

by Colin R. Talbot and Carole L. Talbot[1] University of Manchester Originally published in a CIPFA/PMPA pamphlet here (April 2011). Some of the data may be slightly dated, but the thrust of the argument remains valid and even more topical as a … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Public Administration, Public Management, Spending, Whitehall | Leave a comment

Visions of Subsidiarity and the Curse of the British Political Tradition

by Martin Smith (York University), Dave Richards and Patrick Diamond (both Manchester University) There is little doubt that the previous Labour Administration and the current Coalition Government have discernibly different governing projects.  Despite a rhetorical appeal to the contrary, Labour … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Whitehall | 2 Comments

Lies, Damned Lies and Government misuse of official statistics: Select Committee Attacks Government

I reproduce here the Press Release issued today by the Public Administration Select Committee – it speaks for itself. Here is the link to the actual Report: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmpubadm/77/77.pdf

Posted in Accountability, Public Administration, Whitehall | Leave a comment

Lord O’Donnell Suggests …. that someone rather like him should be put in charge of vetting government policy. Seriously?

Lord O’Donnell, former head of the civil service, has put forward some ideas for better scrutiny of proposed government policies. According to a report in Civil Service World: Among ideas to prevent “bad policies” from being introduced, [O’Donnell] said a … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Parliament, Public Administration, Spending, Whitehall | 2 Comments

The Scrutiny of Public Spending: Margaret Hodge, Robert Chote, and Amyas Morse, amongst others, to discuss how Britain manages public money.

We are organising a series of debates and discussions about how Britain manages public money.

Posted in Accountability, Parliament, Public Administration, Spending, Whitehall | 1 Comment

Top Twenty Whitehall Watch blog posts

Here’s the top twenty Whitehall Watch blog posts (so far) and the number of views. This doesn’t include numbers for posts that have been republished by Public Finance, Public Servant, LSE Policy and Politics and the Huffington Post.

Posted in Accountability, Communities, Development, Education, International, Local government, NHS, Parliament, Performance, Political Economy, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Riots, Spending, Whitehall | Leave a comment

Reforming the Senior Civil Service – what do you think?

The #GreatWestCoastRailShambles has raised again the issue of the competence, or otherwise, of the Senior Civil Service. Ministers are blaming the mess purely on civil servants, whilst others are pointing to a flawed policy. Without a lot more information, it’s … Continue reading

Posted in Public Administration, Public Management, Whitehall | 25 Comments

Romney tells Secret Service detail to “go and get a real job” – well, not really but that’s what he implied…

[President Obama] “took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have, and one that was essential to the task at hand.  He had almost no experience working in a business.  Jobs to him are about government.” Mitt Romney in … Continue reading

Posted in International, Political Economy, Politics, Public Administration | 3 Comments

Targets? What targets? Change and Continuity in the performance regime in Whitehall

We were told, when the new Coalition Government came to be, that it would put an end to “New Labour targetry”. The use of targets for public sector performance had become a bête noir of both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in … Continue reading

Posted in Export, Performance, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Whitehall | 7 Comments

Co-Evolution of the Development of Public Administration, Democracy and Capitalism

Philipp Krause has raised some very interesting issues about the development of public finance institutions in emerging economies (which are equally applicable to wider public administration capacity development in emerging countries).

Posted in Accountability, Development, International, Political Economy, Public Administration, Public Management | 1 Comment

G4S and rethinking public services: going beyond ‘one size fits all’

guest post by John Alford and Janine O’Flynn  The G4S fiasco surrounding security for the London Olympics has sparked debate about the problems of contracting out. In a new book, John Alford and Janine O’Flynn argue for a broader approach … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, International, Political Economy, Public Administration, Public Management | 2 Comments

policy@manchester launches

Public policy community comes together 12 Jul 2012 The University of Manchester has established Policy@Manchester as a network bringing together a range of academics working in a variety of public policy areas.

Posted in Accountability, International, NHS, Parliament, Performance, Political Economy, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Spending, Whitehall | Leave a comment

The Civil Service Reform Plan – Mostly Old Wine in Very Old, but relabelled, Bottles.

The Civil Service Reform Plan announced yesterday mostly rehashes old solutions, some sensible, others of dubious worth – but mostly renames stuff and proclaims it as if it was ‘new’. The cry of ‘cultural change’, for example, towards greater managerial … Continue reading

Posted in Performance, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Whitehall | 4 Comments

Surpluses, Budgets, Parliament, and Accountability Down Under (Australia): some random thoughts

I am in Australia as “Accenture-Crawford School Distinguished Visiting Professor” at Australian National University in Canberra. Many thanks to both Accenture and the excellent Crawford School of Public Policy. I’ve been doing a fascinating series of meetings, seminars and lectures … Continue reading

Posted in International, Political Economy, Public Administration, Public Management, Spending, Whitehall | 1 Comment

The Class Ceiling – Posh Boys (and Girls) Still Rule OK

When Tory MP Nadine Dorries described her Prime Minister and Chancellor as ”two arrogant posh boys” it prompted me to start thinking about my own experiences of class in British society over the past half century. My conclusion – there … Continue reading

Posted in Political Economy, Politics, Public Administration, Whitehall | 5 Comments

Jeremy Hunt (DCMS) debacle raises again the issue of Civil Service Reform

This week saw an extraordinary outburst from the most recently retired Head of the Civil Service, Lord Gus O’Donnell. He said, on the BBC, “”When governments go through difficult patches you are looking for who you can blame. The issue … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Public Administration, Public Management, Whitehall | 3 Comments

The Public Government of Public Money – not yet, not by a long way

  Three decades ago two American academics published a superb analysis of the way in which British government’s made finance decisions provocatively entitled “The Private Government of Public Money” (Heclo and Wildavsky, 1981). Has the Coalition accidentally given birth to … Continue reading

Posted in Parliament, Politics, Public Administration, Spending, Whitehall | 1 Comment

Saint GP. Why have GPs been elevated to special status in the health debate?

The whole NHS reform is based on an assertion – that GPs are somehow better placed to decide what NHS services need to be provided because they are in some sense ”closer to patients”. The news story today that GPs … Continue reading

Posted in NHS, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management | 9 Comments

Is the Civil Service Accountable to Parliament? Hodge vs O’Donnell spat opens a can of worms.

Is the Civil Service accountable to parliament? Margaret Hodge MP, the formidable chair of the powerful Public Accounts Committee of Parliament says “yes”. Sir (now Lord) Gus O’Donnell and other ex-Mandarins say firmly “no”. (For details see the Guardian website here). … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Parliament, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Whitehall | 5 Comments

Localism: ‘It’s like letting go of your toddler’s bike’ says Mandarin

Dame Helen Ghosh DCB is, I’m sure, a very fine civil servant in may ways, but sensitive to others perspectives she’s clearly not. Speaking at the NAO Conference on Performance yesterday (22 Feb 2012) Dame Helen was explaining how the … Continue reading

Posted in Public Administration, Whitehall | 1 Comment