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Ministers and ParliamentAccountability in Theory and Practice$
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Diana Woodhouse

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198278924

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198278924.001.0001

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Next Steps Agencies: Management Reform in the Civil Service

Next Steps Agencies: Management Reform in the Civil Service

(p.218) 11 Next Steps Agencies: Management Reform in the Civil Service
Ministers and Parliament


Oxford University Press

One of the major concerns of governments during the 1980s has been the economic, efficient, and effective delivery of government services. This has focused attention upon the management of the bureaucratic machine. In countries with the Westminster system of government, it has also drawn attention to the departmental structure and the possible inhibitory effect of the convention of individual ministerial responsibility on the development of efficient government. The traditional departmental model requires ministers to have tight control of their departments. This is achieved through a detailed control of expenditure and by the minimal concession of discretion. However, the growth in size and complexity of departments has meant that a minister cannot effectively exercise the required control, and that, although he is legally and politically responsible, in practical terms accountability tends to disappear.

Keywords:   Next Steps agencies, reform, civil service, accountability, ministers, agency concept, Chief Executive

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