Co-Evolution of the Development of Public Administration, Democracy and Capitalism

Philipp Krause has raised some very interesting issues about the development of public finance institutions in emerging economies (which are equally applicable to wider public administration capacity development in emerging countries). Continue reading

G4S and rethinking public services: going beyond ‘one size fits all’

guest post by John Alford and Janine O’Flynn

 The G4S fiasco surrounding security for the London Olympics has sparked debate about the problems of contracting out. In a new book, John Alford and Janine O’Flynn argue for a broader approach to utilizing external providers as the key to avoiding or at least minimizing the pitfalls Continue reading

Louise Casey and “Listening to Troubled Families”: an (almost) worthless piece of ‘research’ leading to dangerous policy prescriptions

Louise Casey, the serial trouble-shooting Czarina, has managed to get huge publicity for a report which purports to “research” the issue of “troubled families”. And we’re not even into the Silly Season proper yet. Continue reading

#SR2013 Watch No. 3: The Spending Review they can’t live with, and can’t live without?

When the Coalition Government published its Spending Review in 2010 it ambitiously set out spending plans not for 3 years, as had been the case in the 5 previous Spending Reviews under New Labour, but for 4 years. This was always “ambitious Minister”, as Sir Humphrey would say. Continue reading

policy@manchester launches

Public policy community comes together

12 Jul 2012

The University of Manchester has established Policy@Manchester as a network bringing together a range of academics working in a variety of public policy areas. Continue reading

Private Good, Public Bad eh? #G4S, #London2012 and the Army

For three decades the idea has held say in most of our political class that “Big Government” was inevitably hopeless and only markets, competition, choice and private provision – even of publicly paid for services – will ‘work’.

If we ever needed reminding that life is not so simple the fiasco surrounding G4S – private sector providers of a large part of the security for #London2012 – makes the point. G4S fail to deliver and as a result 3,500 British troops – many of whom probably have redundancy notices in their pockets – are forced to give up their holidays and step into the breach. G4S managers – who probably have handsome bonuses in their pockets – will probably walk away from this shambles largely unscathed.

This reminds me rather forcefully of the point an American public administration academic made after 9/11 – as the Twin Towers burnt it was mostly public sector workers – police, fire-fighters, paramedics – who were going into the buildings whilst it was mostly private sector employees coming out. Many of the former died when the towers collapsed. This is not a criticism of private sector workers – it is merely to point out that public service has merits that private interests can never match.