The problem of letting go

The `Big Society', accountable governance and 'the curse of the decentralising minister'

Matthew Flinders, D S Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While clear lines of accountability are normally considered a sine qua non of any modern democracy, this article argues that too much accountability can be as problematic as too little. Through the application of a number of analytical ‘hooks’ drawn from the accountability studies literature, it argues that if the coalition government’s rhetorical commitment to a shift from a ‘Big State’ to a ‘Big Society’ is implemented, it may well flounder due to its inability to reconcile the centrifugal forces of devolution and localism with the centripetal forces of political accountability and public expectation. Indeed, without a more aggressive, sophisticated and indeed honest approach to accountability, the ‘Big Society’ is unwittingly likely to forge an even ‘Bigger State’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-662
Number of pages11
JournalLocal Economy
Volume26
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

Fingerprint

Accountability
Governance
Democracy
Rhetoric
Government
Devolution

Keywords

  • accountability
  • big society
  • governance
  • ministerial responsibility
  • responsibility

Cite this

The problem of letting go : The `Big Society', accountable governance and 'the curse of the decentralising minister'. / Flinders, Matthew; Moon, D S.

In: Local Economy, Vol. 26, No. 8, 12.2011, p. 652-662.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{fa4f8a2183dd452596aada5664f4a421,
title = "The problem of letting go: The `Big Society', accountable governance and 'the curse of the decentralising minister'",
abstract = "While clear lines of accountability are normally considered a sine qua non of any modern democracy, this article argues that too much accountability can be as problematic as too little. Through the application of a number of analytical ‘hooks’ drawn from the accountability studies literature, it argues that if the coalition government’s rhetorical commitment to a shift from a ‘Big State’ to a ‘Big Society’ is implemented, it may well flounder due to its inability to reconcile the centrifugal forces of devolution and localism with the centripetal forces of political accountability and public expectation. Indeed, without a more aggressive, sophisticated and indeed honest approach to accountability, the ‘Big Society’ is unwittingly likely to forge an even ‘Bigger State’.",
keywords = "accountability, big society, governance, ministerial responsibility, responsibility",
author = "Matthew Flinders and Moon, {D S}",
year = "2011",
month = "12",
doi = "10.1177/0269094211422187",
language = "English",
volume = "26",
pages = "652--662",
journal = "Local Economy",
issn = "0269-0942",
publisher = "Sage Publications",
number = "8",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The problem of letting go

T2 - The `Big Society', accountable governance and 'the curse of the decentralising minister'

AU - Flinders, Matthew

AU - Moon, D S

PY - 2011/12

Y1 - 2011/12

N2 - While clear lines of accountability are normally considered a sine qua non of any modern democracy, this article argues that too much accountability can be as problematic as too little. Through the application of a number of analytical ‘hooks’ drawn from the accountability studies literature, it argues that if the coalition government’s rhetorical commitment to a shift from a ‘Big State’ to a ‘Big Society’ is implemented, it may well flounder due to its inability to reconcile the centrifugal forces of devolution and localism with the centripetal forces of political accountability and public expectation. Indeed, without a more aggressive, sophisticated and indeed honest approach to accountability, the ‘Big Society’ is unwittingly likely to forge an even ‘Bigger State’.

AB - While clear lines of accountability are normally considered a sine qua non of any modern democracy, this article argues that too much accountability can be as problematic as too little. Through the application of a number of analytical ‘hooks’ drawn from the accountability studies literature, it argues that if the coalition government’s rhetorical commitment to a shift from a ‘Big State’ to a ‘Big Society’ is implemented, it may well flounder due to its inability to reconcile the centrifugal forces of devolution and localism with the centripetal forces of political accountability and public expectation. Indeed, without a more aggressive, sophisticated and indeed honest approach to accountability, the ‘Big Society’ is unwittingly likely to forge an even ‘Bigger State’.

KW - accountability

KW - big society

KW - governance

KW - ministerial responsibility

KW - responsibility

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=83755187900&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269094211422187

U2 - 10.1177/0269094211422187

DO - 10.1177/0269094211422187

M3 - Article

VL - 26

SP - 652

EP - 662

JO - Local Economy

JF - Local Economy

SN - 0269-0942

IS - 8

ER -