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.

The Brighton–Leuven Project

Christopher Pollitt and Geert Bouckaert

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy


The project was conceived as a study of long-term (1965–2005) local policy and organizational change in two complex public services (hospitals, police) in two countries (Belgium, England). The fieldwork was carried out in Leuven and Brighton from 2006 to 2008. It provides the basis for Chapters 6 and 7 of this book, and elements of it are deployed in some of our other publications. Sources are a crucial feature of any historical account. In this case we had generous access to both persons and papers, although the nature of the documentation differed somewhat on either side of the Channel. We wish to express our deep appreciation to the many senior figures who gave us their (often hard-pressed) time and attention. One reason for choosing the period since the mid-1960s was that a good proportion of the key decision-makers were still alive and potentially available for interview. For example, we were able to interview all the hospital chief executives for both the Brighton and Leuven hospitals for virtually the whole period, plus a good number of other senior figures. We were also able to interview a cohort of senior police officers, with careers that stretched back to the 1970s. In all we conducted 36 interviews with the key players and observers, using a standard schedule of questions (see below) but departing from that if the respondent wanted to lead us onto new or different issues (or if we ran out of time – one interview took 3.5 hours to deal with...

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