Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The UK Coalition government: Constructing public service reform narratives

an article by Chris Painter (Birmingham City University, UK) published in Public Policy and Administration Volume 28 Number 1 (January 2013)


Narrative stories offer insight into political agency and constructed reality. They are also part of the armoury for maintaining political ascendancy.

The UK Cameron–Clegg Coalition government’s public service reform narrative juxtaposed its open, transparent and decentralised approach with the top-down configuration of institutional power attributed to New Labour. The more complex reality of public service reform is exemplified particularly from the criminal justice arena.

From a structuralist perspective, the Coalition’s reform trajectory has been related to emergent realities of networked governance. But here too more ambiguous influences were at work with reform again proving more problematic than anticipated.

Full text of an earlier version of this article (PDF 20pp)

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