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Bureaucratic Elites in Western European StatesA Comparative Analysis of Top Officials$
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Edward C. Page and Vincent Wright

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294467

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198294468.001.0001

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The British Senior Civil Service

The British Senior Civil Service

Chapter:
(p.178) 8 The British Senior Civil Service
Source:
Bureaucratic Elites in Western European States
Author(s):

Charlotte Dargie

Rachel Locke

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198294468.003.0009

The aim is to describe the current senior civil service in Britain; in order to do this, recent changes instigated by the Thatcher and Major governments have to be addressed. To explain these developments, four analytical themes are used that run through the different reforms of the senior civil service that are to be discussed. These themes are managerialism (private‐sector management styles in the civil service), marketization (introducing markets into civil service operations), agencification (‘hiving off’ civil service functions to separate agencies), and politicization (breaking down the barriers between political and non‐partisan tasks in government). The introduction to the chapter characterizes these four themes. The second section defines the British senior civil service, and further sections assess change through various aspects of the senior civil service: recruitment and promotion; mobility; sociological characteristics of senior officials; and the relationship with the political machinery of government.

Keywords:   agencification, Britain, change, civil service, managerialism, marketization, mobility, politicisation, promotion, recruitment, reform, relationship with government, senior civil service, senior officials, sociological characteristics of senior officials

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