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A Government that Worked Better and Cost Less?Evaluating Three Decades of Reform and Change in UK Central Government$
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Christopher Hood and Ruth Dixon

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687022.001.0001

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Government Processes

Government Processes

More Focused and Business-like or Heading into Chaos?

Chapter:
(p.154) 8 Government Processes
Source:
A Government that Worked Better and Cost Less?
Author(s):

Christopher Hood

Ruth Dixon

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687022.003.0008

Chapter 8 turns from running costs and consistency and fairness in administration to the machinery or process of government worked over three decades—a feature emphasized by numerous commentators, especially those critical of change. The analysis focuses on indicators relating to the drafting and management of legislation and disciplined administration (focusing on late-stage government amendments to legislation in two fields of legislation and on auditors’ qualification of departmental accounts); the degree of ‘churn’ of institutions (the rate of reorganization of departments, agencies, and ‘quangos’) and of people (turnover of politicians and bureaucrats, with implications for policy experience and institutional memory); and the resources invested in government ‘spin’ and presentation. The analysis shows no clear trend in relation to legislative amendments and qualification of accounts, but indicates markedly increasing turnover of senior policy-grade civil servants over the period and increased resources going into spin and presentation activity around ministers.

Keywords:   legislation, amendments, qualification of accounts, turnover, churn, reorganization, spin, presentation, quangos, institutional memory

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