International Public Management Network (IPMN)

Vol.3, No. 1

Book Review: Governing in the Round: Strategies for Holistic Government
Effectiveness: the next frontier in New Zealand
Getting better but feeling worse? Public sector reform in New Zealand
New Zealand experience with public management reform — or why the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence
Paradoxes of public-sector managerialism, old public management and public service bargains
Performance reporting for accountability purposes: lessons, issues, future
Public management reform and lessons from experience in New Zealand
Quality in public management: the customer perspective
Symposium on public management reform in New Zealand: Reflections on the international public management network/Victoria  
     University workshop
The challenge of evaluating systemic change: the case of public management reform

Documents

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The challenge of evaluating systemic change: the case of public management reform The challenge of evaluating systemic change: the case of public management reform

Filesize: 110 kB

Jonathan Boston

At what stage of reform in the public sector does it become possible to conduct a thorough appraisal of results and how does one know when this stage has been reached? How should such an assessment be undertaken? By what methods can comprehensive and far-reaching systemic reforms be evaluated in the arena of public management during recent decades, particularly in countries like Australia, Britain and New Zealand? Most assessments have focused upon specific changes in management practice including the introduction of performance pay, the move to accrual accounting, the growth of contracting-out, the separation of policy and operations or the devolution of human resource man- agement responsibilities. Alternatively, they have dealt with management changes in particular policy domains –such as health care, education, community services or criminal justice – or within a particular organization (department, agency or private provider). By contrast, there have been rela- tively few macro evaluations – comprehensive assessments of the impact of root-and-branch changes to the system. The problems of evaluation in the arena of public management are inherently complex and the way ahead is by no means clear. This article offers some broad reflections on the limitations to policy evaluation in the field of public management, and more particularly explores the obstacles confronted when assessing the consequences of systemic management reforms. It focuses on recent changes in the New Zealand public sector to illustrate the general themes because these reforms constitute one of best examples of systemic change anywhere in the world.

Symposium on public management reform in New Zealand: Reflections on the international public manage Symposium on public management reform in New Zealand: Reflections on the international public manage

Filesize: 45.12 kB

Rob Laking

The genesis of the workshop on public management reform in New Zealand, held in Wellington on March 10, 2000, was an invitation from the International Public Management Network to the Graduate School of Business and Government Management at Victoria University to organize and co-host a one-day event in Wellington following the Network’s Sydney 2000 Conference. Approxi- mately sixty people attended the workshop. The majority of attendees were senior public servants in the New Zealand government. In addition, there was a representation of academics from New Zealand and Network members who came on from the IPMN conference in Sydney at Macquarie Graduate School of Management March 4 – 6. The mix of speakers was strongly weighted towards practitioners, as is reflected in the articles in this symposium. The three central agency contributions are all from officials who have a reputation for thinking creatively and critically about the future of New Zealand public management, Derek Gill, Andrew Kibblewhite and Anne Neale. Graham Scott kindly agreed to provide the keynote address. Robert Gregory, a well-known critic of the New Zealand reforms, was the sole academic voice in this small chorus of practitioners. Gregory would be the last to claim that he is "representative" of anyone’s opinion other than his own.

Quality in public management: the customer perspective Quality in public management: the customer perspective

Filesize: 98.38 kB

Kuno Schedler, Jürg Felix

This article presents reflections on the transposition of the private-sector concept of Total Quality Management (TQM) to the public sector. We search for answers to the following questions:

- At what levels of the public sector is the concept of TQM operative?

- How must the concept of TQM be interpreted for its transposition to the public sector?

- What are the connections between the conventional quality-assurance control principles of public management and TQM?

TQM intends to exercise influence on organizational action. Action by the state and, in this specific case, by public management requires legitimization. For this reason, the notion of legitimization must be analyzed more closely, and the operative levels of TQM must be placed in their respective contexts. Legitimization may be considered to have three layers: basic legitimization is a product of the social contract and refers to the state and its structures in general terms; institutional legitimization relates to public management as an institution, and to its outward manifestations; and individual legitimiza- tion is the product of specific contacts between management and its customers. It is on this individual level that most changes are sought by New Public Management.

Public management reform and lessons from experience in New Zealand Public management reform and lessons from experience in New Zealand

Filesize: 64.04 kB

Graham Scott

This article is edited from a speech delivered to the University of Victoria, Wellington—IPMN Workshop on the theme lessons from experience in New Zealand. The author articulates a number of lessons that have been learned, and identifies some lessons that should have been learned. Scott writes from the perspective of having been directly and centrally involved in the development and implementation of what has been characterized as "the New Zealand model" of public management for more than twenty years, a record of service that continues to date. The views expressed also benefit from extensive consulting by the author for governments around the world. Among the lessons learned are (a) the need for clarity of roles, responsibilities and accountability in the implementation of management reform, (b) the importance of matching decision capacity to responsibility, (c) the significance of ministerial commitment and clarity on expectations, (d) the advantages gained from structural innovations within the New Zealand cabinet, (e) the need to analyze disasters carefully for what they teach, (f) approaches to embrace and foibles to avoid in implementing performance specification, (g) problems caused by confusion over ownership and im- proper assessment of organizational capability, (h) the fact that actually doing strategic management in the public sector is hugely complicated, (i) that it is time to put an end to the notion that there is an "extreme model" of public management in application in New Zealand, and (j) that public management, government and governance innovations in New Zealand are no longer novel compared to those advanced in other nations. With respect to lessons not learned satisfactorily, many are simply the dark shadow of positive lessons, i.e., having not understood or implemented the successes achieved in some parts of New Zealand government into others. The author concludes with an admonition to avoid jumping too quickly, in response to post-electoral rhetoric, to the conclusion that past reforms in have to be modified quickly and radically, and that the New Zealand Model has failed.

Performance reporting for accountability purposes: lessons, issues, future Performance reporting for accountability purposes: lessons, issues, future

Filesize: 67.27 kB

Ann Neale, Bruce Anderson

This article addresses the status and directions for performance reporting in the New Zealand public sector from the perspective of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG). It outlines the role of the Audit Office, provides definitions of accountability, and projects the dimensions of a new account- ability. The authors assess challenges to performance reporting and accountability, the history of reporting performance accountability in New Zealand, an Audit Office perspective on accountability to Parliament, lessons learned from reform, some issues outstanding, and future development in terms of how the public sector in New Zealand should improve reporting on non-financial performance.

Paradoxes of public-sector managerialism, old public management and public service bargains Paradoxes of public-sector managerialism, old public management and public service bargains

Filesize: 121.06 kB

Christopher Hood

This chapter considers three paradoxes or apparent contradictions in contemporary public man- agement reform–paradoxes of globalization or internationalization, malade imaginaire (or successful failure) paradoxes, and paradoxes of half-hearted managerialism. It suggests that these three paradoxes can be explained by a comparative historical institutionalism linked to a motive-and-opportunity analysis of what makes some public service systems more susceptible to reform than others. It further argues that such explanations can be usefully linked together by exploring public service reform from the perspective of ‘public service bargains’ or PSBs (that is, explicit or implicit bargains between public servants and other actors in the society). Accordingly, it seeks to account for the three paradoxes of public management reform by looking at the effect of different PSB starting-points on reform experience, and at the way politician calculations over institutional arrangements could account for PSB shifts in some circumstances but not others.

New Zealand experience with public management reform — or why the grass is always greener on the oth New Zealand experience with public management reform — or why the grass is always greener on the oth

Filesize: 186.83 kB

Derek Gill

This article provides an analysis of how New Zealand has achieved the successes made to date, issues and problems yet to be resolved, and directions on how to address current shortcomings in public managment reform of the New Zealand model. Four issue pillars provide the framework for the analysis: Political—problems that are inherent to the political arena under a range of public manage- ment regimes; Incompleteness—problems that reflect that the system is incomplete in some areas, but that do not suggest inherent difficulties; Implementation—problems to do with the way the system has been implemented; Inherent—problems inherent in the New Zealand regime, but not necessarily in other systems. The overall conclusion drawn is that relatively few of the problems are inherent in the New Zealand model and that most problems fall under the first of the four issue pillars: politics. The author concludes that there is much to be done— but that it can be done within the framework of the Public Finance Act and the State Sector Act by changing how the system is operated.

Getting better but feeling worse? Public sector reform in New Zealand Getting better but feeling worse? Public sector reform in New Zealand

Filesize: 90.33 kB

Robert Gregory

In the author’s view, a price has been paid for the overly narrow theoretical framework used to design the state sector reforms in New Zealand. According to Gregory, the way ahead must be informed both by more eclectic theoretical input, and also by closer dialogue between theory and practice. He argues elsewhere that the state sector reforms in New Zealand, especially in their application to the public service, have been too ‘mechanistic’, and too blind to the important ‘organic’ dimensions of public organizations. They have focused too much on physical restructuring, attempting to reduce the complex, vital, and dynamic reality of governmental processes to essentially artificial dualities, such as ‘outputs’ and ‘outcomes’, ‘owner’ and ‘purchaser’, ‘funder’ and ‘provider’. They have tended to ignore the less quantifiable and more holistic elements that in New Zealand under- pinned a strong culture of public service trusteeship. He concludes that it is difficult to be persuaded that reform has all been for the good.

Effectiveness: the next frontier in New Zealand Effectiveness: the next frontier in New Zealand

Filesize: 66.25 kB

Andrew Kibblewhite

Central agencies face a critical test on how to approach the resolution of issues and problems related to improving the New Zealand public sector management systems from the author’s perspec- tive. A decade has passed since the legislative changes were approved that initiated major financial management reform, and much of the initial reform energy has faded. It is time to assess what has and has not been achieved, and to search for ways to continue to move forward. There is a sense of anticipation, as well as some apprehension, across the New Zealand public sector, particularly in light of the election of a new Government. As New Zealand moves into a new phase of reform, one of the key challenges is to take advantage of what has already been achieved. New Zealand has one of the world’s leading public sector management systems, and should take advantage of that foundation. The key issue focused on in this article is effectiveness. A critical part of raising effectiveness is enhancing information. Better information is needed on outcomes, and it should be packaged in more accessible and relevant ways. More disciplined evaluation of the effectiveness of what is done is necessary. Systems that encourage public servants to raise their horizons should be improved or put in place. Managers who understand what they are doing and why are critical to reform success. Purchase agreements— or output agreements—will play a pivotal role, but they need to be improved. A fresh approach to output specification to better accommodate the range of output relationships that exist is required. Central agencies can facilitate customization of output specifications by being clearer about the basic output framework, and more flexible about how that framework is applied. Outcome measures should be refined and used along with outputs where feasible. Better ways must be found for managing problems of inter-agency coordination. Technology offers a new set of tools, but IT facilitates rather than creates effective relationships. Other coordination mechanisms that help agen- cies to communicate and to make trade-offs must evolve. New Zealand can move into a new phase of building a "world’s best" public sector. The public sector has an appetite for action at the moment, and a willingness to debate the issues. How this potential will be used is, to a great extent, the critical issue faced by the new Government.

Book Review: Governing in the Round: Strategies for Holistic Government (Perri 6, Diana Leat, Kimber Book Review: Governing in the Round: Strategies for Holistic Government (Perri 6, Diana Leat, Kimber

Filesize: 33.84 kB

Hal G. Rainey

Obviously, we need international publications in public management for communication about what happens in different nations. Accordingly, a good reason to review Governing in the Round for this journal is to inform readers of this valuable source of information about efforts in the UK to coordinate government programs. The aim of integrating fragmented activities by people who should be working at common purposes is, in a sense, an old one in many nations. In the 1970’s, the US Congress passed the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) to provide for local coordination of a diffuse array of employment and training programs in government. ..