The View from the Top
Edited by Gerhard Hammerschmid, Steven Van de Walle, Rhys Andrews and Philippe Bezes
Chapter 16: A top-down, customer-oriented approach to reform: perceptions from UK civil servants
The survey of senior civil servants in UK central government was conducted at a crucial time as the impact of the fiscal crisis was starting to be felt. These perceptions are important as they reveal what reforms and instruments are working and how things could be changed in the future. The results suggest that the UK remains more committed to New Public Management (NPM) reforms and instruments, such as contracting out, privatization and business management practices, than other European countries. These reforms also seem to have been implemented in a more top-down way, with public sector downsizing being more important than elsewhere. Nonetheless, although the attractiveness of the public sector as an employer and trust in government appear to have weakened, we find high take-up of certain post-NPM reforms and practices, such as open government and external partnership, with a corresponding pay-off in terms of improved transparency and citizen participation.
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