Politicians and Public Services

Politicians and Public Services

Implementing Change in a Clash of Cultures

Kate Jenkins

As a senior official in Mrs Thatcher’s government, the author describes in detail and from the inside the process of planning and introducing ‘executive agencies’, a major change in one of the largest governments in the world. She emphasises the intense difficulty involved in getting agreement to change and to implement decisions, discussing the problems of conflicting objectives between politicians and officials in dealing with the practicalities of managing large public sector institutions. The UK experience of ‘executive agencies’ has been influential across the world and in many countries. This book describes how the UK system was devised and introduced.


Kate Jenkins

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, politics and public policy, public policy


EFFICIENCY UNIT IMPROVING MANAGEMENT IN GOVERNMENT: THE NEXT STEPS Report to the Prime Minister by Kate Jenkins Karen Caines Andrew Jackson LONDON: HMSO * Crown Copyright. Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence. 207 208 Politicians and public services CONTENTS Page Section 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Introduction Findings Conclusions Recommendations The next steps 1 3 7 9 15 Annexes A. Accountability to Ministers and Parliament on operational matters B. Findings Appendix A: Previous reports on the Civil Service C. Terms of reference and working method 17 21 31 33 The Next Steps Report 209 1 INTRODUCTION 1. As a result of initiatives taken since 1979, the management of government business is much improved, especially in those parts of government where there are clear tasks to be performed and services to be delivered. But there is still a long way to go; in particular there is insufficient sense of urgency in the search for better value for money and steadily improving services. There is wide agreement in departments themselves that substantial further improvement is achieveable, but that this depends heavily on changing the cultural attitudes and behaviour of government so that continuous improvement becomes a widespread and in-built feature of it. This report makes recommendations on the structure and management needed for the better delivery of services both to the public and to Ministers, the experience that staff need to be given and how sustained pressure for improvement can be developed. This should bring the changes needed in attitudes...

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