Machinery of government and standards in public service: Teaching new dogs old tricks

Du Gay, Paul (2006). Machinery of government and standards in public service: Teaching new dogs old tricks. Economy and Society, 35(1) pp. 148–167.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03085140500465949

Abstract

For much of the last thirty years the main leitmotif animating Civil Service reform in the UK has been that efficiency and effectiveness in public services can be achieved by adapting management methods and practices derived from commercial enterprise. In the process of making the dreams and schemes of that plural singularity we have come to call `managerialism' operational though, something valuable appears to have been lost, and that something is the Civil Service as a unified `constitutional bureaucracy'. In this article I explore some of the unfortunate governmental and administrative consequences of these managerially minded reforms. In particular, I seek to highlight the continuing relevance of what have been routinely characterized as outmoded and anachronistic machineries of government, and to stress the importance of the increasingly forgotten core business of public administration: the running of a state and of a constitution.

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