The International Handbook of Public Administration and Governance
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The International Handbook of Public Administration and Governance

Edited by Andrew Massey and Karen Johnston

The International Handbook of Public Administration and Governance is a ground-breaking volume with eminent scholars addressing the key questions in relation to how international governments can solve public administration and governance challenges in an increasingly globalized world. With international coverage across Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, North and South America, the authors adopt contemporary perspectives of governance, including public policy capacity, wicked policy problems, public sector reforms, the challenges of globalisation and managing complexity. Practitioners and scholars of public administration, public policy and public sector management will be better informed with regard to the issues and structures of government and governance in an increasingly complex world.
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Chapter 18: United Kingdom: government, governance and public administration complexity

Duncan McTavish


This chapter outlines the traditional configuration of public administration in the UK: central government influence, especially in areas of growing welfare state provision within a unitary state, yet an open economy much influenced by the international economic and trade environment, subject to exogenous shock. The ideational and ideological challenges to postwar Keynesianism saw the UK as a particularly strong candidate for new public management (NPM) and related approaches to public administration and government. The chapter analyses the regulatory, inspection, audit and governance-based dimensions, assessing the impacts and limits of government and state activity as well as the outcomes in terms of public and democratic accountability. The final section of the chapter evaluates the UK’s public administration–territorial complexity in a multilevel governance environment. Governance of the UK’s relationship with the European Union (EU) is examined, as are the patterns of asymmetry within the UK’s present devolution arrangements, concluding with comments on the significance of bi-constitutionalism as an explanatory tool for UK government and public administration.

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