By Michael Burton (auth.)
The first accomplished 'bird's eye' account of public quarter reform supported by way of references from over four hundred professional assets, this ebook is a useful consultant to all these within the public, deepest and voluntary sectors grappling with the dual demanding situations of handling public spending austerity and the strain in line with rework public services.
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Extra resources for The Politics of Public Sector Reform: From Thatcher to the Coalition
Advocates of reform – on the left and right – came to view the police as affected by the same inherent weaknesses as other parts of the public sector such as institutional inertia, cultural conservatism, powerful unions and over-generous pay and conditions. Under Blair the police had been drawn into the performance-monitoring regime while a National Police Improvement Agency was created to support and drive through managerial change. However, Blair had stopped short of restructuring and an earlier attempt to reduce the number of forces was abandoned.
17 The White Paper said that total public spending went up by 57% in real terms from 1997/8 to 2010/11, from 28% to 48% of GDP but on key international comparisons ‘the UK has been treading water’ particularly in education and health inequalities. The paper said ‘a new approach to delivering public services is urgently needed’ because ‘giving people more control over the public services they receive, and opening up the delivery of those services to new providers, will lead to better public services for all’.
11 Academic David Lewis in a study of Big Society noted its basic contradictions as threefold which contributed to its being a ‘ﬂawed idea’. These were ﬁrstly that Big Society tried to build a legitimacy with ‘a largely unconvincing appeal to an idealised and essentially unreal past’. Secondly it became enmeshed in public spending cuts, ‘the result of either design or bad timing’ which associated it with a particular politics. 12 In education the Coalition announced an expansion of the academies programme – ﬁrst unveiled by Blair – to all schools, not just those regarded as under-performing, along with invitations to create ‘free’ schools, set up by parents and others independent of the local authority.