administrative reform


March 31 2010 - system doesn't allow me to make new entry

Posted by publicadminreform on December 11, 2009 at 5:41 AM

Yesterday I was still collating what I consider are key references for my briefing note on public management reform efforts (in Europe) and beginning to give some thought to the sort of structure my note will need.

First, however, I need to reread the “seminal accounts” – which, despite the large number of academic titles on comparative work in this field, are fairly small in number since most academic overviews which purport to be comparative actually fall into one of two rather different categories.

First there are the ad-hoc collections of case-studies illustrating the priorities of a particular country. The best of this are written around a common set of questions – but most leave it to the author to decide how he wants to write about an experience.

The second type is more comparative – but focussed on a particular tool or approach eg financial, performance management, personnel, agencies, decentralisation etc For example the 2008 book on Managing Performance – international comparisons by Brouckaert and Halligan. A weakness of these books for the practitioner is that they are written to gain points in the academic community – and have therefore to use whatever description they contain into a specialist discourse. Academic discourse is bad enough – but some of the recent post-modernist are evil!

It is for this reason that the most useful books from the practitioner point are those which have been specially commissioned for a customer in the state sector eg OECD or written by an international body. So far my list includes the following -

Public sector reform in Western Europe (1997) Overview paper by Toone and Raadschelder to a larger academic study

Why is it so difficult to reform public administration? Government of the future – getting from here to there (1999) Series of OECD Conference papers

Public Management Reform – a comparative analysis (2000); Academic book by Pollitt and Brouckaert

Performance or compliance – performance audit and public management in five countries (2002); Academic book by Chris Pollitt (technicall this is a bit narrow for this list - being more in the second category I mentioned above but I've put it in because it explores the implcations for PM)

International Public Administration Reform – implications for the Russian Federation (2003); Commissioned study by Nick Manning and Neil Parison of the World Bank

Evaluation in public sector reform – concepts and practice (2003); an academic book by Herbert Wollmann. Again shouldn't really be here since it's not focussing directly on PM but rather its evaluation. Scrapes into my list because of its scope (and because it's the only one of its kind)

Responses to country questionnaire (2005); national inputs to an OECD survey

International Comparison of UK’s public administration (2008); Report commissioned by National Audit Office

Commentary on international models of good government (2008); Report commissioned by National Audit Office


The Manning Report and the second last paper are the most useful. The Manning Report first identifies have some common features with Russian which might make their experience interesting. These are - Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Korea, UK, USA on which there are individual chapters. The analysis sets up a typology of perceived problems and subsequent reform tools. Then at the results – suggesting that some countries have forces of resistance which make them “low traction” – for which certain tools only are relevant


The second last paper is perhaps the most intriguing.It suggests that good public administration can be defined by sets of “values”,” outcomes” and “enablers”.

Good PAs are responsive, transparent, accountable, equitable and have a public service ethos.

These can be measured by high quality services, public confidence and trust, good policy advice, culture of seeking value for money and “stability and continuity”

“Enablers” are Culture of performance, Management; Appropriately skilled public Administration; Good leadership; Capacity for change. The report then identifies comparative indices on these outcomes and enablers to rank the UK system

Categories: None

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In

1 Comment

Reply Hasenritter
6:48 AM on February 18, 2010 
Dear Ronald,
do we know each other from Aserbeijan?
I wanted to contact you on a possible assignment.

Best regards

Karl Hasenritter