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Managerial bureaucracy continuity and change in the history of the British civil service: 1979-2007

Castellani, Lorenzo (2016) Managerial bureaucracy continuity and change in the history of the British civil service: 1979-2007. Advisor: Masala, Dr Antonio. Coadvisor: Anselmi, Prof. Luca . pp. 283. [IMT PhD Thesis]

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Abstract

The thesis provides a detailed historical analysis of the British Civil Service reforms in the period 1979–2007 using archive, public and legal sources. The work focuses on organisational changes and the managerialisation process that crossed three different premierships and parties in government. All these thirty years of administrative reforms involved many common profiles to take into account objectives, resources and management information, better policy-making, openness to outside thinking and people, role, structure and better capacity of the centre of government, size, structures and functions of the Civil Service. Continuities with the past and within reforms are not neglected considering the relationship between modernisation and tradition that included values, principles and embedded practices that resisted change and accompanied an incremental process of change. On the one hand, the impact of the New Public Management doctrine developed by international scholars and policymakers by the eighties is taken into account; on the other hand, the 'constitutional' characteristics of an ancient, professional and centralised bureaucratic model such as the Civil Service are not underestimated by this historical work. The analysis is historical, considering key events, reforms, personalities and debate that involved the civil service during this period, but even legally and politically grounded. It considers the historical background of the Thatcher era, when the government of the Iron Lady set up a new season of reforms for the bureaucracy of the central government based on managerial principles, budget disciplines and the need to cut waste, spending and manpower. The Thatcher period (1979–1990) was characterized by three phases of reform: departmental scrutinies led by Derek Rayner and the Efficiency Unit (1979–1983); Lasting Reforms, involving the launch of programmes such as MINIS and FMI, which aimed to improve information management and offer better value for money in government (1982–1987); and the Next Steps Agencies (1987– 1990), which were the most important structural reforms of the last three decades. The Civil Service moved from being a unitary bureaucracy to being a federalized one in which managerial principles and performance measurement could be developed and implemented. By 1990, the Major government had focused more on customer service, with initiatives such as the Citizen's Charter (1991) and Competing for Quality (1994). Meanwhile, the Next Steps reform was completed and contracting-out and competition policy for public services was enforced. Traditional values, legal framework and principles continued to be reaffirmed by many governmental initiatives and papers. In 1997, when New Labour and Tony Blair arrived at Downing Street, the appetite for administrative reforms remained. Continuity with the past is highlighted as well as changes at both organisational and policy levels. The most important innovations such as Public Service Agreements, performance measurement, developing of delivery control, capability reviews, the proliferation of units to achieve more coordination and tackle social issues, the rise of special advisers and transparency in Government are investigated. Moreover, legal updates such as Ministerial Code, Civil Service Code and Special Advisers regulations are analysed. In the last chapters, crucial issues such as constitutional and legal developments, performance measurement, special advisers, ministerial responsibility and resilience of tradition are assessed. In the conclusion, the new traits of managerial bureaucracy as a result of historical facts and reform process are drawn.

Item Type: IMT PhD Thesis
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
PhD Course: Political History
Identification Number: 10.6092/imtlucca/e-theses/216
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2017 08:55
URI: http://e-theses.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/216

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