AbstractFor generations, public services in England have centred on top-down, centralised control, which since the 1990s has become increasingly underpinned by national performance regimes and increasing accountability mechanisms. Since 2010, there has been a political shift towards localised governance and delivery of public services of which greater collaboration across services has been seen to be a key enabler. However, this change in approach has been slower than some might have expected or desired.
This research draws on the theories of historical institutionalism and complexity theory to understand how the governance of three public services in the Bristol city region – local government, the police and the National Health Service – has evolved and changed in recent years. Through a survey and qualitative interviews, the research examines the perceptions of a random sample of one per cent of the most senior leaders in these services to understand what the incentives and disincentives are in adopting a system-wide collaborative approach to cross public sector challenge.
The research finds that leaders in each of the organisations understand the value of collaborative working and support its principles. However, historical institutional practices and path dependencies in the three different services, overlaid with national performance requirements, accountability mechanisms and governance structures, together with limited capacity and other determinants, has meant that collaboration is not systemised and significant change would need to take place if such an approach was to become more commonplace.
The research concludes that employing a bottom-up collective service model would be more beneficial in the effective management of cross cutting, complex and enduring challenges than the top-down directional approaches that have characterised new public management and its predecessors.
|Date of Award||24 Jun 2020|
|Supervisor||Nick Pearce (Supervisor)|