8. 8.1 Reflections on theories of change INTRODUCTION The previous five chapters have revealed both similarities and differences in policy and management in the two chosen services and countries. The differences are great – large enough for us to ditch any naive or mechanistic theories that ‘globalization’ or ‘reinvention’ or ‘the New Public Management’ are sweeping through the world, obliging every government urgently to move in the same direction. Evidently even governments that are geographically adjacent, multiply interconnected and similarly subject to the allegedly homogenizing effects of European Union (EU) membership can behave very differently when it comes to policymaking and management. The similarities between the countries and services are perhaps more subtle, but no less profound. In rather brutal, bullet-point style we can summarize the details of Chapters 3 to 7 as follows. Main differences: ● ● ● ● Very different central–local relations. Much greater central–local integration of political elites in Belgium – although at the same time much greater fragmentation of political parties. Also, much more scope for local autonomy from the federal government. Put another way, central government is more dominant and controlling in England. Faster pace of both policy and management change in England (for both hospitals and police). Greater emphasis on ‘management’ and less on political bargaining and patronage in England (most marked for the police, but also true for hospitals). However, this difference needs to be understood within an overall growth in concern for management in both countries (see similarities, below). Far greater emphasis on target-setting and performance...
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