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Chris Eichbaum and Richard Shaw

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Chris Eichbaum and Richard Shaw

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Chris Eichbaum and Richard Shaw

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Partisan Appointees and Public Servants

An International Analysis of the Role of the Political Adviser

Edited by Chris Eichbaum and Richard Shaw

This comparative collection examines the role of political staff in executive government and the consequences for policymaking and governance. Included are case studies from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The evidence suggests that political staff are likely to be an enduring feature of executive government, which one contributor refers to as the ‘new public governance’ with attendant risks and opportunities for the conduct of politics and administration.
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Christopher Eichbaum and Richard Shaw

In one sense, the electoral contest in liberal democratic societies is a normative contest of ideas and of policy prescriptions. Political parties represent an aggregation of a shared analysis, a shared normative commitment to desired alternatives and a shared policy prescription. Therefore, change in government may well result in a change in policy, reflecting shifts in ideological disposition and political and policy priorities, and differential weights attached to trade-offs. Westminster norms suggest that an expert, politically neutral civil service will assist in translating this electoral mandate into policy. Responsive competence is, in this sense, an important aspect of the Public Service Bargain. In the chapter the authors examine the role of political parties in the processes of policy formulation and, by implication, the extent to which the political contest in liberal democratic societies is indeed one of a substantive kind. They also examine the status of political parties as political actors, absent a contest of an electoral kind, and explore the contribution that political staff – as agents of parties and/or of ministers and prime ministers – make to the processes of policy formulation.

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Richard Shaw and Chris Eichbaum

Advisers who are appointed to inject a partisan dimension into policy and political processes are now an established feature of executive government in parliamentary democracies around the globe. The early research on ministerial advisers tended to concentrate on the Anglo-American experience, exploring accountability issues and advisers’ contributions to the policy process (see Eichbaum and Shaw 2010). However, the scholarship has since expanded and evolved, and it is time to take stock of recent developments and to chart a future research agenda. In that spirit this chapter articulates the chief objectives of the ‘second wave’ of research on ministerial advisers, which are to profile scholarship from a wider range of parliamentary democracies, to more explicitly theorize empirical circumstances, and to articulate a comparative research project. To those ends the chapter defines the core unit of analysis, the ministerial adviser; sets out capsule histories of the two waves of research on advisers; and provides an overview of the book’s remaining chapters.

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Richard Shaw and Chris Eichbaum

One of the chief characteristics of the second wave of scholarly work on political advisers is an explicit engagement with the wider theoretical oeuvres of political science and public administration. This chapter squarely locates arrangements in New Zealand in that context. We begin by briefly outlining the institutional arrangements within which political staff operate and provide advice to the political centre. We then provide a capsule history of the political adviser in New Zealand, describe the roles those staff play in the policy-making process and detail the impact they have on interactions within the core executive. We draw on the public service bargain (PSB) literature to make sense of the particulars of those relationships, and conclude with a series of observations regarding the contribution our analysis might make to the wider PSB scholarship and the extent to which theorizing on the basis of the New Zealand case might have comparative application.

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Richard Shaw and Chris Eichbaum

The second wave of research on ministerial advisers is driven, in part at least, by the desire to increase the amount and quality of comparative research on advisers in parliamentary democracies. In that context, the primary objectives of this chapter are to propose a theoretical frame that could assist such research, and to provide a preliminary sense of the contribution it might offer. The chapter begins with a description of the framing device, and then applies the model to the book’s ten country cases. Finally, a series of concluding thoughts on future directions for comparative research on ministerial advisers are offered.

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Ministers, Minders and Mandarins

An International Study of Relationships at the Executive Summit of Parliamentary Democracies

Edited by Richard Shaw and Chris Eichbaum

Ministers, Minders and Mandarins collects the leading academics in the field to rigorously assess the impact and consequences of political advisers in parliamentary democracies. The 10 contemporary and original case studies focus on issues of tension, trust and tradition, and are written in an accessible and engaging style.