Looking back at 2014

As 2014 draws to a close we’re reflecting on a fantastic year for Policy & Politics. There have been some exceptional papers in the journal, and the special issue on Depoliticisation was a real highlight. The conference in September was a great success, and David Blunkett MP delivered an excellent annual lecture. We hope you’ve enjoyed this year as much as we have, and we look forward to more good times for Policy & Politics in 2015.

Blame too much sherry or end-of-year-giddiness, but we’ve written something to amuse you and close the year:

(to the tune of the 12 days of Christmas…)2014

In the year of 2014, my colleagues sent to me:
Best paper prizes
Scottish referendum
David Blunkett’s lecture
Open Access papers
Peter Taylor-Gooby
Super special issue
Videos of conference
Impact Factor Joy!
4 plenaries
Guest bloggers
2 Great Editors
and a copy of P&P!

Season’s Greetings to you all, see you in 2015!

Public–private partnerships, management capacity and public service efficiency

Tom Entwhistle and Rhys Andrews
Tom Entwhistle and Rhys Andrews

By Tom Entwistle and Rhys Andrews

Caught between falling tax revenues and increasing expenditures, governments across the world are looking for new ways of extracting economy and efficiency from the public sector. As in the past, the claim that business can deliver public services more efficiently than the state, provides a key inspiration for reform.

Governments can engage the private sector in public service delivery in a number of different ways. They can open clearly specified functions – like cleaning, refuse collection or grounds maintenance – to a competitive tendering process and then contract with the organisation which promises best value.  Alternatively, they may externalise – or, in more loaded terms, ‘privatise’ – the delivery of a whole service, Continue reading

What impact do mayors have on the cities that elect them?

David Sweeting
David Sweeting

This originally appeared on the LSE British Politics and Policy blog.

Greater Manchester will become the next urban area in the UK to directly elect a mayor, following Bristol who first elected a mayor in 2012. One of the frustrations in the debate around directly elected mayors, however, is the lack of empirical evidence around which to evaluate their impact. Here, David Sweeting presents some early analysis of data from both before and after the introduction of the mayoral system in Bristol.

Recently George Osborne announced the creation of a ‘metro-mayor’ for Greater Manchester. In doing so he has joined a long line of heavyweight politicians who have endorsed the idea of directly elected mayors as at least part of the solution to issues in urban governance in English cities. From as far back as Michael Heseltine in the early 1990s, via Tony Blair, and through David Cameron the idea of a single figure to govern our Continue reading

The role of formal and informal networks in supporting older people’s care during extreme weather events

Jonathan Wistow, Lena Dominelli, Katie Oven, Christine Dunn, and Sarah Curtis, from Durham University, discuss their latest article from EPSRC-funded research, “The role of formal and informal networks in supporting older people’s care during extreme weather events”. This article is now available on fast track.

Image by West Midlands Police [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Local residents and police officers in Balsall Heath clearing snow from the pathway of an older persons home (2013). Image courtesy of West Midlands Police [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Climate change and demographic projections point, respectively, to more frequent occurrences of extreme weather and an ageing population.  Taken together these provide new dynamics to which health and social care systems need to respond.  Firstly, demographic change will lead to a growth in the population group that relies most on services within health and social care systems.  Secondly, the increased frequency of extreme weather events can have serious effects on the services, buildings, communication routes and utilities that are important for health and social care of older people.

This article is an output from an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council funded research project under the Adaptation and Resilience in the Context of Change programme, called Built Infrastructure for Older People in Conditions of Climate Change. The project brought together a team of researchers from different disciplines to understand how Continue reading

Government policies for corporate social responsibility in Europe

Jeremy Moon
Jeremy Moon

Jeremy Moon, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark reports on the article he has published with Jette Steen Knudsen, Copenhagen University, Denmark, and Rieneke Slager, Nottingham University Business School, UK.

Originally published on the 29/5/14 on the Better Business blog

Traditionally, most authorities on corporate social responsibility (CSR) suggested that, by definition, CSR was about the discretion of companies and unrelated to the requirements of the law and public policy.

Curiously, one of the main CSR themes over the last decade has been the growth of governmental interest in CSR. My own introduction to CSR was in the context of this supposed paradox. Whilst studying public policy responses to UK unemployment in the early 1980s I encountered overlaps with CSR (e.g. through local economic partnerships, the Youth Training Scheme). Continue reading

Will policymakers ever really listen to the public?

Amanda Crompton
Amanda Crompton

Amanda Crompton from Nottingham University Business School tracks the success or otherwise of public participation in transport infrastructure projects. This article is now available on fast track.

Public participation in policy decisions has undoubtedly improved in recent years, yet the system is still far from perfect. Formal or “top-down” mechanisms continue to serve as a starting point, but how they interact with or are complemented by informal or “bottom-up” alternatives is to this day something of a lottery. My latest research, examining the proposed High-Speed 2 (HS2) rail link between London Continue reading

Finally recognising the value of quangos? The Coalition Government and a move beyond the ‘Bonfire of the Quangos’

Kate Dommett and Matt Flinders
Kate Dommett and Matt Flinders

Kate Dommett, University of Sheffield, discusses her article written with Matthew Flinders and available online now via fast track.

The focus of British politics is notoriously cyclical. As general elections approach certain issues rise up the political agenda and are used by politicians of all colours to demonstrate their reforming credentials. One of these ideas is the ‘bonfire of the quangos’, a phrase used by politicians to criticise their opponents’ waste, bureaucracy and incompetence and demonstrate their own determination to create a more streamlined, efficient and ultimately better state. The term quango captures a range of different bodies that exist at arm’s-length from the state which, amongst other Continue reading