Abstracts: August 19th, 1998

Barker A
Public Administration, (UK), Spring 98 (76/1)
Start page: 1 No of pages: 24

Examines the divide made in UK government theory between policy, decided by government ministers, and administration/operations, carried out by the Civil Service and government agencies, and asks if this division is useful in sensitive areas of government, such as the prison service. Reviews four crises in prisons between 1983 and 1995 (breakouts from the Maze prison in 1983, Brixton in 1991, Whitemoor in 1994 and Parkhurst in 1995), investigating how blame for these problems was apportioned. Highlights how the policy/operations divide was used by government ministers to avoid being held accountable for events. Considers the implications of the increasing number of government agencies which were set up originally to clarify the traditional policy-operations division by being purely operational and administrative bodies. Questions if this is possible, arguing that the impact of policy on the efficiency of operations cannot be discounted. Explores how the issue of policy vs operations can be resolved, setting out the changes this would entail in the constitutional role of civil servants and ministers, and in the way that government policy is formed.

Subject(s): CENTRAL GOVERNMENT, CIVIL SERVICE, GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, PRISONS, DECISION MAKING, POLICY, UNITED KINGDOM
Database: TMA: Top Management Abstracts
Style: Theoretical with application in practice, Case study. Reference: 27AK469

Reproduced by permission of Anbar Management Intelligence
http://www.anbar.co.uk/management/home.htm