The approval (2003) and enforcement (2005) of a smoking ban in Italy have been viewed by many as an unexpectedly successful example of policy change. The present paper, by applying a processualist approach, concentrates on two policy cycles between 2000 and 2005. These had opposing outcomes: an incomplete decisional stage and an authoritative decision, enforced two years later. Through the analysis of the different phases of agenda setting, alternative specification and decision making, we have compared the quality of participation of policy entrepreneurs in the two cycles, their political strategies and, in these, the relevance of issue image. The case allows us to direct the attention of scholars and practitioners to an early phase of the policy implementation process – which we have named "transition to practice". This, managed with political strategy, might have strongly contributed to the final successful policy outcome.
For the past decade, the policy community/issue network typology of pressure group interaction has been used to explain policy outcomes and the policy-making process. To re-examine the validity of this typology, the paper focuses on the UK government's response to the 2001 Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) crisis, and in particular the decision to pursue contiguous culling rather than vaccination to overcome the epidemic. Rather than illustrating the emergence of an issue network in agricultural policy, the decision-making process of the FMD outbreak demonstrates continuity with prior crises. In addition, the politicization of scientific expertise is identified as an emerging trend in crisis management. Policy framing is used to explain the impetus behind the contiguous cull decision, concluding that the legacy of previous policy choices conditioned the crisis response to a far greater degree than contemporaneous pressure group action.
This paper documents the early evolution of UK organic food and farming policy networks and locates this empirical focus in a theoretical context concerned with understanding the contemporary policy-making process. While policy networks have emerged as a widely acknowledged empirical manifestation of governance, debate continues as to the concept's explanatory utility and usefulness in situations of network and policy transformation since, historically, policy networks have been applied to "static" circumstances. Recognizing this criticism, and in drawing on an interpretivist perspective, this paper sees policy networks as enacted by individual actors whose beliefs and actions construct the nature of the network. It seeks to make links between the characteristics of the policy network and the policy outcomes through the identification of discursively constructed "storylines" that form a tool for consensus building in networks. This study analyses the functioning of the organic policy networks through the discursive actions of policy-network actors.
The worldwide expansion in the use of private firms to deliver public services and infrastructure has promoted a substantial literature on public sector contract and relationship management. This literature is currently dominated by the notion that supplier relationships should be based upon trust. Less prominent are more sceptical approaches that emphasize the need to assiduously manage potential supplier exploitation and opportunism. This article addresses this imbalance by focusing upon the recent experience of the English National Health Service (NHS) in its dealings with its nursing agencies. Between 1997 and 2001, the NHS was subjected to considerable exploitation and opportunism. This forced managers to adopt a supply strategy based upon an assiduous use of e-auctions, framework agreements and quality audits. The article assesses the effectiveness of this strategy and reflects upon whether a more defensive approach to contract and relationship management offers a viable alternative to one based upon trust.
In response to wide-ranging criticism of agricultural policy, especially within Western industrialized countries, new frameworks of justification are emerging and new hybrid policy fields have been established to tackle some of the ‘externalities’ of agricultural support. However, institutional frameworks are proving slower to change, partly because this would require coordinated action across different levels of governance. Nevertheless, previously marginalized environmental concerns have successfully gained entrance to agricultural policy networks, while the intersection of trade liberalization and rural diversification have undermined the dominance of the productivist mindset in government. This gives rise to a plurality of policy actors and actions which defy the conventional categories of analysis of agricultural policy, calling for changing frameworks on the polity of agriculture too.
For all governments, the principle of how and whether policies are implemented as intended is fundamental. The aim of this paper is to examine the difficulties for governments in delivering policy goals when they do not directly control the processes of implementation. This paper examines two case studies – anti-social behaviour and street crime – and demonstrates the difficulties faced by policy-makers in translating policy into practice when the policy problems are complex and implementation involves many actors.
Contracting in health care is a mechanism used by the governments of Canada, Australia and New Zealand to improve the participation of marginalized populations in primary health care and improve responsiveness to local needs. As a result, complex contractual environments have emerged. The literature on contracting in health has tended to focus on the pros and cons of classical versus relational contracts from the funder's perspective. This article proposes an analytical framework to explore the strengths and weaknesses of contractual environments that depend on a number of classical contracts, a single relational contract or a mix of the two. Examples from indigenous contracting environments are used to inform the elaboration of the framework. Results show that contractual environments that rely on a multiplicity of specific contracts are administratively onerous, while constraining opportunities for local responsiveness. Contractual environments dominated by a single relational contract produce a more flexible and administratively streamlined system.
This paper draws on the findings from a research project on partnership arrangements between the police and housing departments on three Australian public housing estates to tackle problems associated with illicit drug activity and anti-social behaviour (ASB). The analysis focused on the setting up of the partnerships and the interactions that followed from these institutional arrangements. The assumption that informs the paper is that when studying partnerships there is a need for a more critically framed analysis. The temptation to posit "a successful model" of what partnership entails and then to judge practices in relation to this model is considerable, but it inevitably falls into the trap of constructing a narrative of partnership success or failure in terms of individual agency (that is, the degree of commitment from individuals). The analysis undertaken in this paper has therefore sought to fathom a more complex set of organizational processes. Rather than confine the discussion to issues of success and failure, the study foregrounds the subjective accounts of individuals who work within partnership and the constraints they encounter. The paper therefore makes explicit the cultural tensions within and across agencies, contestation as to the extent of the policy "problem," and the divergent perspectives on the appropriate modes of intervention.
In this article, we explore whether policy network theory can be applied in the People's Republic of China (PRC). We carried out a literature review of how this approach has already been dealt with in the Chinese policy sciences thus far. We then present the key concepts and research approach in policy networks theory in the Western literature and try these on a Chinese case to see the fit. We follow this with a description and analysis of the policy-making process regarding the health insurance reform in China from 1998 until the present. Based on this case study, we argue that this body of theory is useful to describe and explain policy-making processes in the Chinese context. However, limitations in the generic model appear in capturing the fundamentally different political and administrative systems, crucially different cultural values in the applicability of some research methods common in Western countries. Finally, we address which political and cultural aspects turn out to be different in the PRC and how they affect methodological and practical problems that PRC researchers will encounter when studying decision-making processes.
A key motive for establishing the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was restoring public confidence in the wake of multiplying food scares and the BSE crisis. Scholars, however, have paid little attention to the actual political and institutional logics that shaped this new organization. This article explores the dynamics underpinning the making of EFSA. We examine the way in which learning and power shaped its organizational architecture. It is demonstrated that the lessons drawn from the past and other models converged on the need to delegate authority to an external agency, but diverged on its mandate, concretely whether or not EFSA should assume risk management responsibilities. In this situation of competitive learning, power and procedural politics conditioned the mandate granted to EFSA. The European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council shared a common interest in preventing the delegation of regulatory powers to an independent EU agency in food safety policy.
This paper explores the issue of joined-up governance by considering child protection failures, firstly, the case of Victoria Climbié who was killed by her guardians despite being known as an at risk child by various public agencies. The seeming inability of the child protection system to prevent Victoria Climbié's death resulted in a public inquiry under the chairmanship of Lord Laming. The Laming report of 2003 looked, in part, to the lack of joined-up working between agencies to explain this failure to intervene and made a number of recommendations to improve joined-up governance. Using evidence from detailed testimonies given by key personnel during the Laming Inquiry, the argument of this paper is that we cannot focus exclusively on formal structures or decision-making processes but must also consider the normal, daily and informal routines of professional workers. These very same routines may inadvertently culminate in the sort of systemic failures that lead to child protection tragedies. Analysis of the micro-world inhabited by professional workers would benefit most, it is argued here, from the policy-based concept of street-level bureaucracy developed by Michael Lipsky some 30 years ago. The latter half of the paper considers child protection failures that emerged after the Laming-inspired reforms. In particular, the case of ‘Baby P’ highlights, once again, how the working practices of street-level professionals, rather than a lack of joined-up systems, may possibly complement an analysis of, and help us to explain, failures in the child protection system. A Lipskian analysis generally offers, although there are some caveats, only pessimistic conclusions about the prospects of governing authorities being able to avoid future child protection disasters. These conclusions are not wholeheartedly accepted. There exists a glimmer of optimism because street-level bureaucrats still remain accountable, but not necessarily in terms of top-down relations of authority rather, in terms of interpersonal forms of accountability – accountability to professionals and citizen consumers of services.
Networks are becoming a popular organizational form for structuring human activities. To date, scholars have addressed networks in a variety of fields, including sociology, economics, public administration, criminology, political science, and international security. However, little has been done so far to systematically examine the similarities, differences, and connections between network forms of organization across different academic disciplines. This has important implications for both theory and practice. The lack of attention paid to organizational similarities and differences prevents the exchange of knowledge developed across fields. In turn, policy-makers cannot take full advantage of existing research, and may miss opportunities to improve the work of some networks and combat that of others. To address this gap in the literature, this paper uses the combination of organizational environments and organizational goals to develop a new typology of inter-group networks, and thus improve our understanding of how human behaviour is coordinated through networks.
Using data from a five-year online survey the paper examines the effects of relative satisfaction with health services on individuals' voice-and-choice activity in the English public health care system. Voice is considered in three parts – individual voice (complaints), collective voice voting and participation (collective action). Exercising choice is seen in terms of complete exit (not using health care), internal exit (choosing another public service provider) and private exit (using private health care). The interaction of satisfaction and forms of voice and choice are analysed over time. Both voice and choice are correlated with dissatisfaction with those who are unhappy with the NHS more likely to privately voice and to plan to take up private health care. Those unable to choose private provision are likely to use private voice. These factors are not affected by items associated with social capital – indeed, being more trusting leads to lower voice activity.
The causes and effects of marketization of public services have been analysed extensively in the literature, but there is relatively little research on how those policies impact on the development of new forms of governance, and the role of users in these new arrangements. This study reviews examples of competition, freedom of choice and personalized care in health and social services in England and Sweden, in order to examine the type of relationships emerging between the user/consumer vis-à-vis market driven providers and various agencies of the state under the marketized welfare. The article focuses on the possible roles users might assume in new hybrid arrangements between markets, collaborations and steering. A user typology: namely, that of a consumer, citizen, co-producer and responsibilized agent in various governance arrangements, is then suggested. The article concludes by arguing that pro-market policies instead of meeting the alleged needs of post-modern users for individualized public services are likely to promote a new type of highly volatile and fragile partnerships, and create a new subordinated user who has no choice but to ‘choose’ services they have little control over.
In 2004 Norway implemented a food safety reform programme aimed at enhancing inter-organizational coordination processes and outcomes. Has this programme affected inter-organizational coordination processes and outcomes, both vertically and horizontally – and if so how? This article employs the concept of inter-organizational coordination as an analytical tool, examining it in the light of two theoretical perspectives and coupling it with the empirical findings. The argument presented is that the chances of strong coordination outcomes may increase if inter-organizational processes feature a clear division of labour, arenas for coordination, active leadership, a lack of major conflicting goals, and shared obligations.
The task of this paper is to offer an analysis of the Faith-Based and Community Initiative (FBCI) established by George W. Bush and continued under the Obama administration based on a critical and decentred approach to governance (networks). The paper starts out by placing FBCI in the context of the welfare reform of 1996 arguing that both share certain basic assumptions, for example, regarding the nature of poverty, and that FBCI can be interpreted as a response to the relative failure of some aspects of the reform of 1996. In what follows, FBCI is analysed as a typical case of (welfare) state restructuring from government to governance. Emphasis is given to the way discourses and traditions such as communitarianism and public choice have shaped the formation of this new governance arrangement in the field of social service delivery in order to strive for a ‘decentring’ of FBCI by drawing attention to actors' beliefs and worldviews. Finally, I argue that it is not least because of a divergence of such views between policy-makers and faith-based organizations that the effect of FBCI remains for the time being limited.
In terms of clinical procedures (to take the example used in this article, hip operations), both public and private organizations provide highly professionalized services. For this service type, our knowledge about ownership differences is sparse. To begin to fill this gap, we investigate how the ownership of hip clinics affects professional behaviour, treatment quality and patient satisfaction. The comparison of private and public hip clinics is based on data from the Danish Hip Arthroplasty Register and the Danish Central Patient Register combined with 20 semi-structured interviews. We find that private clinics employ stronger individual financial incentives and try harder to increase the income/costs ratio than do public clinics. Private clinics optimize non-clinical factors such as waiting time much more than public clinics and have fewer complication-prone patients than public clinics. However, the clinical procedures are very similar in the two types of clinics. Private clinics do not achieve better clinical results, but patient satisfaction is nevertheless higher with private clinics. The implication is that ownership matters for highly professionalized services, but professionalism neutralizes some – but not all – ownership differences.
The ‘modernization’ of British public services seeks to broaden public sector governance networks, bringing the views of third sector organizations, the public and service users (among others) to the design, management and delivery of welfare. Building on previous analyses of the contradictions generated by these roles, this paper draws on longitudinal qualitative research to enunciate the challenges faced by one third-sector organization in facilitating service user influence in a UK National Health Service (NHS) pilot programme, alongside other roles in tension with this advocacy function. The analysis highlights limits in the extent to which lateral governance networks pluralize stakeholder involvement. The ‘framing’ of governance may mean that traditional concerns outweigh the views of new stakeholders such as the third sector and service users. Rather than prioritizing wider stakeholders' views in the design and delivery of public services, placing third sector organizations at the centre of governance networks may do more to co-opt these organizations in reproducing predominant priorities.
Because of differences in institutional arrangements, public service markets, and national traditions regarding government intervention, local public service provision can vary greatly. In this paper we compare the procedures adopted by the local governments of The Netherlands and Spain in arranging for the provision of solid waste collection. We find that Spain faces a problem of consolidation, opting more frequently to implement policies of privatization and cooperation, at the expense of competition. By contrast, The Netherlands, which has larger municipalities on average, resorts somewhat less to privatization and cooperation, and more to competition. Both options-cooperation and competition-have their merits when striving to strike a balance between transaction costs and scale economies. The choices made in organizational reform seem to be related to several factors, among which the nature of the political system and the size of municipalities appear to be relevant.
The article analyses the Spanish experience of EU compensatory rural policy in order to contribute to broader debates on the effectiveness of this kind of policy and the role of agriculture in the definition of European rural policies. In the case of Spain, compensatory allowances to mainly mountain farmers had little effect on economic trajectories or social cohesion because of the small sums involved, the exclusion of those with very small farms, and the decreasing role of agriculture in the rural economy. Other, more structural, instruments of rural policy focused on small-scale promotion of business growth but were ill-equipped to challenge some of the territorially defined items of living standard gaps. A historically grounded analysis suggests that the main changes in the social trajectory of Spain's mountain areas in the last decades have little to do with compensatory policy and are related to ordinary economic dynamics.
During disasters, partnerships between public and nonprofit organizations are vital to provide fast relief to affected communities. In this article, we develop a process model to support a performance evaluation of such intersectoral partnerships. The model includes input factors, organizational structures, outputs and the long-term outcomes of public–nonprofit partnerships. These factors derive from theory and a systematic literature review of emergency, public, nonprofit, and network research. To adapt the model to a disaster context, we conducted a case study that examines public and nonprofit organizations that partnered during the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The case study results show that communication, trust, and experience are the most important partnership inputs; the most prevalent governance structure of public–nonprofit partnerships is a lead organization network. Time and quality measures should be considered to assess partnership outputs, and community, network, and organizational actor perspectives must be taken into account when evaluating partnership outcomes.
For over three decades public services have been the subject of unprecedented change. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the English National Health Service (NHS) where despite the effort expended on change there is growing evidence that such restructuring is largely ineffective. Drawing on a study of culture modification in the English NHS, this paper utilizes Chia's (1999) account of the metaphysics of processual change to consider why attempts to restructure public services are not always successful. The paper contributes to our understanding of public management reform by considering how an ontology of becoming, and a loosening of control, might alter how we approach reforming. Further, the paper offers a theoretical justification for the use of standard research methods for novel processual ends. The paper concludes with a reflection on the implications of a processual perspective for the future management, organization and study of change in public administration.
The development of health policy is recognized as complex; however, there has been little development of the role of agency in this process. Kingdon developed the concept of policy entrepreneur (PE) within his ‘windows’ model. He argued inter-related ‘policy streams' must coincide for important issues to become addressed. The conjoining of these streams may be aided by a policy entrepreneur. We contribute by clarifying the role of the policy entrepreneur and highlighting the translational processes of key actors in creating and aligning policy windows. We analyse the work in London of Professor Sir Ara Darzi as a policy entrepreneur. An important aspect of Darzi's approach was to align a number of important institutional networks to conjoin related problems. Our findings highlight how a policy entrepreneur not only opens policy windows but also yokes together a network to make policy agendas happen. Our contribution reveals the role of clinical leadership in health reform.