Chris Skelcher

Chris Skelcher
University of Birmingham

About

113
Publications
21,225
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5,375
Citations
Citations since 2017
5 Research Items
2046 Citations
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Publications

Publications (113)
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Deliberative democratic forums frequently involve conflicting values, policy concepts and problem definitions. Effectiveness in seeking consensus requires access to reliable information. It also poses very significant cognitive challenges due to the complexity of policy issues and the need for participants to understand alternative experiences and...
Article
Full-text available
The creation of companies by local governments to provide public services (or corporatization) is an example of systemic public entrepreneurship that is popular across the world. To build knowledge around the antecedents of public sector entrepreneurship, we investigate the factors that lead local governments to create companies for public service...
Article
A key institutional driver of current reforms within English local government is ‘alternative service delivery’. Our review of councils’ annual accounts between 2010/11 and 2016/17 suggests ‘corporatization’—the creation of local authority companies—is a growing phenomenon across the whole of English local government. This represents such a signifi...
Article
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We examine how societal-level institutional logics impact the way in which hybridity develops in nonprofit organizations using international, comparative and qualitative case studies of community regeneration organizations in England and France. The research applies theoretically based conjectures about types of hybridity to empirical data generate...
Article
Public and non-profit organizations can contain apparently irreconcilable institutional logics—such as public service and market survival. These logics can hybridize to frame an organization’s work and the identity of employees, volunteers and clients in particular ways. These offer both performance promises and performance pitfalls. The authors id...
Article
The abolition of the Audit Commission in England raises questions about how a major reform was achieved with so little controversy, why the agency lacked the institutional stickiness commonly described in the literature on organisational reform and why it did not strategise to survive. In this paper, we apply argumentative discourse analysis to ric...
Article
Full-text available
This review article debates the democratic consequences of arm's length governance challenging the prevailing view that its use is necessarily counter-democratic and a poor substitute for direct control by elected politicians. The article explores the roots of the dominant 'democratic deficit' perspective on arm's length bodies in the agency proble...
Article
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How do public agencies respond when reform proposals threaten downsizing, reduction in functions, or termination? Agency survival during administrative reform is conventionally explained by structural characteristics, informed by the hardwiring thesis derived from the politics of the U.S. federal government. Parliamentary systems provide greater op...
Article
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We propose a novel approach to theorizing hybridity in public and nonprofit organizations. The concept of hybridity is widely used to describe organizational responses to changes in governance, but the literature seldom explains how hybrids arise or what forms they take. Transaction cost and organizational design literatures offer some solutions, b...
Article
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Attitudes to quangos are paradoxical. On the one hand they are perceived to be undemocratic, unaccountable organisations, while on the other they are seen to improve effectiveness, limit political interference and increase public confidence in government. This paradox is reflected in the behaviour of political parties, which generally adopt a harsh...
Article
This article addresses whether there are differences in regulatory regimes in the devolved nations of the UK. It focuses on the divergence between rhetoric and practice around improving performance of local authorities. By discussing general understanding of public sector quality and the possible role for regulators in ensuring quality it shows tha...
Chapter
If public administrators think of the relationship between network governance and representative democracy in different ways, as we showed in Chapter 5, what are the consequences of new practices of hybrid governance for the democratic fabric of our cities and societies? Governance transitions, such as those from the legacy of politically headed pu...
Chapter
The case studies of migration and neighbourhood policy, together with the analysis of democratic performance, begin to reveal something of the important space occupied by officials – civil servants, public service professionals, public administrators – in the design, redesign and operation of hybrid forms of urban governance. Classic administrative...
Chapter
The governance changes that are the focus of our study are exemplars of a wider range of transitions taking place to varying degrees across European cities, as the dominant model of representative democracy served by a public bureaucracy adapts to new ideas and circumstances. Typically, the literature on new public management, network governance, p...
Chapter
This book is about how cities respond to new governance challenges. These challenges may take a number of forms: policy challenges arising from changed socio-economic conditions, institutional challenges linked to changes in how decisions are made and ideational challenges associated with new understandings of urban governance itself. Whatever the...
Chapter
Neighbourhood revitalisation is a long-standing issue of concern in Europe. Globalisation and the attendant changes to national economic conditions and structures have led to a loss of traditional industries and economic securities which have impacted with particular force on specific neighbourhoods, disconnecting them from the economic, social and...
Chapter
A major critique of representative democracy and public bureaucracy has developed over the past two decades, at least in the Anglo-American literature. It argues that the ideas and institutions that informed urban government - the primacy of the elected representative, the administrative role of the public bureaucrat and the state-centric model of...
Chapter
Cities are the product of migration and have a central role in managing its effects. Although the debate about immigration often takes place at national level, or in the case of Europe in the supra-national sphere, it is sub-national units of government that play the major role. They are responsible for coordinating policies and delivering programm...
Article
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Some problems of governance regularly resurface, and the use and role of ‘quangos’— public bodies operating at arm's-length to ministers—is a case in point. The administrative history of the British state is littered with official reviews and political debates about quangos. Historically, governments, whatever their reforming zeal, have found it di...
Article
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This chapter looks at two institutional arrangements that have been designed for the networks around developing the Ghent Kanaalzone in Belgium and the development of the expansion of the port of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. The analysis, focusing on legitimacy, consent and accountability as problems to be solved in networks, shows that that in bo...
Article
Network forms of governance enable public managers to exercise considerable agency in shaping the institutions through which government interacts with citizens, civil society organizations and business. These network institutions configure democratic legitimacy and accountability in various ways, but little is known about how managers-as-designers...
Article
Artificial intelligence (AI) can contribute to the management of a data driven simulation system, in particular with regard to adaptive selection of data and refinement of the model on which the simulation is based. We consider two different classes of intelligent agent that can control a data driven simulation: (a) an autonomous agent using intern...
Article
There has been little attention to the measurement of the democratic performance of governance networks and the formal organisations of which they are composed. Instead, attention has focused on national-level comparisons of whole democratic systems. However the need for a more refined methodology for analysing the democratic performance of classes...
Article
The local government improvement agenda..............................................................3 The CPA and poorly performing councils.................................................................3 Learning from the experience of recovery.................................................................4
Article
Full-text available
Collaborative approaches to local economic development have developed in a number of European countries. However collaborative working presents a new problem for policy makers and public management researchers. The problem is to design an institutional framework for the governance of economic development that provides for anchorage in the democrati...
Article
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Advances in understanding the democratic anchorage of governance networks require carefully designed and contextually grounded empirical analysis that take into account contextual factors. The article uses a conjectural framework to study the impact of the national democratic milieu on the relationship between network governance and representative...
Article
Local government in England and Wales is subject to the implementation of the Labour government's 'new ethical framework' legislation. This involves a statutory code of conduct for councillors, local standards committees to promote good practice and external investigative and adjudicative bodies to deal with allegations of misconduct. Prior to this...
Article
Understanding emerging democratic practices in the context of the wider, and changing, system of governance in which they operate poses problems for research, not least because broader concepts, such as political culture, focus on historical patterns and are not able to capture contemporary devel- opments. We approach this problems by proposing the...
Article
In this article we provide a conceptual and argumentative framework for studying how institutional design can enhance civic participation and ultimately increase citizens' sense of democratic ownership of governmental processes. First, we set out the socio-political context for enhancing the democratic governance of regulatory policies in Europe, a...
Article
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Improved performance by public sector organizations is a political imperative in numerous countries. There are particular challenges in turnaround of poorly performing organizations. Theoretical explanations of the performance trajectories of public organizations, and especially the causes of failure, highlight the importance of knowledge processes...
Article
The evolution of new forms of public governance in Europe presents a challenge to methods of democratic policy making, accountability, and control that are predicated on a theory of representative democracy. The article discusses the evolution of supranational institutions and considers empirical data on the democratic performance of governance net...
Article
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Our position is that network governance can be understood as a communicative arena. Networks, then, are not defined by frequency of interactions between actors but by sharing of and contest between different clusters of ideas, theories and normative orientations (discourses) in relation to the specific context within which actors operate. A discour...
Article
Institutional designs for third-party governance have proliferated in the US and Europe, but there has been little systematic analysis of their democratic performance. A comparative analysis of business improvement districts (BIDs) in the US and UK documents an approach to the democratic analysis of third-party public governance institutions and fi...
Article
Full-text available
The transfer of responsibilities from central to local government has often been justified on the grounds of efficiency and democracy under the principle of subsidiarity. The existing models for mapping local government power in Europe, however, are often insufficiently detailed to allow in-depth comparison, and little is known about the level of c...
Article
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The theory-driven approach to analysing and assessing collaborative performance provides an important tool for researchers and policy-makers seeking to understand collaborative performance. It explains performance deductively, in terms of the a priori causality of relationships between variables. Different theoretical domains provide different insi...
Article
Full-text available
Deliberative democratic forums frequently involve conflicting values, policy concepts and problem definitions. Effectiveness in seeking consensus requires access to reliable information. It also poses very significant cognitive challenges due to the complexity of policy issues and the need for participants to understand alternative experiences and...
Article
One argument for metropolitan county council abolition in England was that it would save money, yet detailed studies suggested that it would increase expenditure. After abolition, Government statements emphasised the savings that had resulted. Analysis of expenditure change from 1984/5 to 1987/8 shows that rate and grant-borne expenditure on transf...
Article
This article compares the logics and institutional consequences of urban government reform in the United States and in England. We focus on the politics of ideas, identifying four common visions of urban reform: efficient public interest management, improved representation, local political leadership, and metropolitan-wide governance. National pres...
Article
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Citizen-centred governance involves new ways of enabling local people, working with statutory and other agencies, to decide how public services can improve their quality of life. This study examined the relationship between new governance structures and the engagement of citizens, service users and the voluntary and community sectors, with the aim...
Article
The design and evaluation of partnerships delivering public policy goals should consider questions of democratic performance as much as matters of service delivery. The flexibility afforded to partnership working places a premium on managerial action loosely coupled to political oversight. Yet the goals of partnerships are inherently political choi...
Chapter
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Collaborative approaches to local economic development have developed in a number of European countries and other advanced economies (Giguère, in this volume). These take economic development from within public bureaucracies and relocate it to new organisational forms based on co-production between government and business, sometimes with the additi...
Article
Full-text available
This paper investigates the relationship between representative democracy and governance networks at a theoretical level. It does so by offering four conjectures and their implications for theory and practice. The incompatibility conjectures rests on the primacy of politics and sees governance networks as a threat. The complementarity conjecture pr...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents a prototype implementation of an intelligent as- sistance architecture for data-driven simulation specialising in qualitative data in the social sciences. The assistant architecture semi-automates an iterative se- quence in which an initial simulation is interpreted and compared with real-world observations. The simulation is th...
Article
Network governance can enhance democratic practice by furnishing new routes for actors to deliberate, make, and execute public policy. But it is hindered by a lack of political oversight, limited democratic competence of new organizational forms, and informality of operation. Little research has been conducted on the democratic performance of gover...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Representation and interpretation of simulation semantic content is a challenging problem at the heart of issues such as simulation composability and symbiotic simulation. This paper introduces an automated approach to dynamic online interpretation of simulations using AI techniques. The approach is described in the context of agent-based social si...
Article
Improvement boards offer a new approach to supporting stronger performance by public service organizations, and especially those facing significant issues of change. They involve formalized peer challenge and support by senior politicians and managers from other agencies. The authors document early experiences with improvement boards in local gover...
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The next big step in public management research is to move beyond the question of whether management matters to answer the question: does democracy matter? The public management discipline has largely ignored the impact of democratic structure on performance, partly because of limited variation in the constitutional design of public service organiz...
Article
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Agent-based simulation can help to predict policy impact and generate explanations of observed phenomena. However, the models underlying the simulations have to be based on evidence on the real world. The paradigm of Dynamic Data Driven Application Simulation (DDDAS) can improve the accuracy of a simulation's representation of reality by continuall...
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This paper discusses the findings of a study undertaken by a team from the University of Birmingham's Institute for Local Government Studies (INLOGOV), funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The research explores the implications for democratic practice of collaborative working through partnership arrangements in the public sector. Thr...
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Public sector performance is currently a significant issue for management practice and policy, and especially the turnaround of those organizations delivering less than acceptable results. Theories of organizational failure and turnaround derive largely from the business sector and require adaptation to the public service. The performance of public...
Article
This article investigates the relationship between democratic practices and the design of institutions operating in collaborative spaces, those policy and spatial domains where multiple public, private and non-profit actors join together to shape, make and implement public policy. Partnerships are organizational manifestations of institutional desi...
Article
Political and managerial processes are creating polycentric networks that transcend the traditional ideas of jurisdictional integrity in state-centric systems. Jurisdictional integrity refers to the political and legal competence of a unit of government to operate within a spatial and functional realm. An intrinsic element of jurisdictional integri...
Article
Changing the nature of governance arrangements comprises one element in the public service reform programme. New governance forms include arm's-length agencies, multi-organisational partnerships, hybrids and company structures. In theory, changed governance arrangements offer benefits in terms of public service performance. Public service performan...
Article
Discussion of ‘governance’ has become commonplace in health and social care in recent years, and ‘good governance’ seems to be seen in some quarters as offering potential answers to some of the complex challenges facing public services. Drawing on evidence from both the private and public sectors on governance, this short paper explores three key i...
Article
This article provides early results from a long-term evaluation of the turnaround strategies by poorly-performing local authorities in England. The history and theory behind central government interventions into local government is reviewed, focusing on the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA). The journeys taken by 10 local authorities, afte...
Article
The parish pump and the strategic partnership provide two contrasting images of the governance of local communities. The former emphasises local se self-government by citizens through democratic processes. The latter concentrates on partnership board meetings where key public, private and voluntary sector actors shape the nature of the local commun...
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The Collaborative Agenda Collaboration and the State Understanding Collaboration Collaboration on Cross-Cutting Issues Collaboration Across Sectors Building Capacity for Collaboration The Dynamics of Collaboration The Governance of Collaboration Citizens and Collaboration Evaluating Collaboration Collaboration and Modernisation Notes on Sources and...
Article
There has been substantial growth in the number of non-elected public bodies – or quangos – operating at the local level. This development presents a marked change from the model of elected local authorities as the main focus for the governance and delivery of local public services. Four interpretations of this change are examined: agency-type, ide...
Article
Multi-organizational partnerships are now an important means of governing and managing public programmes. They typically involve business, community and not-for-profit agencies alongside government bodies. Partnerships are frequently contrasted with competitive markets and bureaucratic hierarchies. A more complex reality is revealed once partnershi...
Article
Collaboration between governments, business, the voluntary and community sectors is now central to the way public policy is made, managed and delivered. This book provides the first comprehensive and authoritative account of the theory, policy and practice of collaboration. Written by two leading authorities in the field the book explores the exper...
Article
This article is based on research investigating why local authorities innovate and what happens when they do. The authors show how local authorities have responded to the current normative climate for innovation, and explore the interaction between central policy and local action. The article demonstrates the importance of the policy climate set by...
Article
This article traces the resurgence of interest in ethical conduct in the UK and examines its implications, with particular reference to local government. The discussion of the new ethical framework for councillors concentrates on the way in which self-regulation by local authorities has been undertaken and the rationale for its replacement by a str...
Article
This article is based on research investigating why local authorities innovate and what happens when they do. The authors show how local authorities have responded to the current normative climate for innovation, and explore the interaction between central policy and local action. The article demonstrates the importance of the policy climate set by...
Article
Three conceptualisations of the UK's state are identified: the overloaded state of the 1960s/1970s; the hollowed-out state of the 1980s/early 1990s; the congested state of the late 1990s. In this latter period the creation of collaborative institutions has become a core strategy in all areas of UK public policy. This rich web of linkages arose in r...
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UK public service agencies are currently giving greater priority to consultation and user involvement . However the political imperative behind this movement can obscure wider questions of strategy. Six are identified and discussed: the significance of process as well as technique; the need to recognise consultation fatigue; the importance of an in...
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Involvement and empowerment have emerged as major concerns in many local public service agencies, yet pose problems of theory and practice. The meanings of involvement are multiple and can reflect the different interests of agencies and consumers, while the creation of markets and quasi‐markets as a mechanism for empowerment is inappropriate to man...
Article
Since the mid-1980s UK local authorities have undergone a service revolution, leading to radical changes in relationships with cus- tomers. Because of the structural characteristics of local govern- ment, in particular the accountability to and involvement of customers through the democratic process, service quality initia- tives raise issues not f...
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This paper is based on research carried out at the Institute of Local Government Studies at the University of Birmingham. Policy Planning Systems are ways of dealing with the division of functions between central and local government and they provide a structure for the flow of information by means of specified procedures and processes. As this ten...
Article
This paper examines policy planning systems in British central-local government relations, and in particular the formal, structured relationship in the local transport policy sector, as a means of exploring the impact in intergovernmental relations of the form of linkage between institutions. This impact is analysed in terms of central government's...

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