Continuity and Change in Public Policy and Management

Continuity and Change in Public Policy and Management

Christopher Pollitt and Geert Bouckaert

Combining theory development, international comparison and original case study analysis, two of Europe’s leading public policy and management scholars apply and develop some of the main models of policy change and offer a revealing long-term view of policy developments since 1965. Drawing on an extensive programme of elite interviews and documentary analysis they provide an integrated treatment of national and local policymaking in two major public services – hospital care and the police – in England and Belgium. This timely book addresses the ‘paradigm wars’ in public policy, arguing for a nuanced intermediate position that challenges the orthodox and the post-modernists alike.

Chapter 5: National Reforms: Intersectoral Comparison

Christopher Pollitt and Geert Bouckaert

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy


SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES IN BRITISH AND BELGIAN POLICYMAKING To some extent, but only to some extent, the opening stereotypes (Chapter 2) do appear to have survived closer scrutiny. Thus there has indeed been a significant contrast in policymaking styles and intensity between the two countries – in respect of both police policy and hospitals policy. Given that the two countries faced many similar problems, this degree of difference stands as a remarkable tribute to the divergent influences of the respective cultural and political frameworks. England has been the site of relentless activism, with one reform following another. Belgium has been much slower-moving, with big reforms emerging only occasionally, usually after long periods of public indignation and political pressure. Graphically, one might portray the different frequencies and amplitudes as the kind of ‘cardiogram’ beloved of TV hospital dramas – see Figure 5.1 Belgian police English police Belgian hospitals English hospitals 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 Figure 5.1 ‘Cardiogram’ of frequency and intensity of reforms in Belgium and England 71 72 Continuity and change in public policy and management What kind of changes have these been? Here we may first return to the three-level scheme of Hall introduced in Chapter 1, section 1.5. The first (most detailed) level was changes in the levels set for specific policy instruments. Here there have been many changes in both countries – in fact these have been far too numerous to reiterate them all here. For the English police the 1979 pay increase was significant,...

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