Local Government by Lottery?

joseph drew p&P blogJoseph Drew

One constantly hears the slogan that local government is closest to the people and thus serves the people best.

But is it really close to the people and which people does it serve?

When did you last attend a council meeting? When did you last feel that you had a direct voice in a local government decision that affects your life? Do you know the name of your Councillor? Did your Mayor keep their election promise – did you even know what the promise was?

The truth of the matter is that most of us will answer negatively to all of these questions. That’s probably why most of us grumble about ‘crazy’ local government decisions but stand impotently by as the same group of Councillors are returned at the elections every few years.   Continue reading

Understanding reputational concerns within government agencies 

p&p blog

Kristoffer Kolltveit, Rune Karlsen & Jostein Askim

Employees in public agencies constantly need to think about how the outside world looks at them. According to bureaucratic reputation theory, public agencies face a complex web of reputational concerns regarding how they are perceived by multiple audiences who prioritise different dimensions of their work. For instance, public agencies are judged by critical media reports, a range of demanding users of public services, politicians and so on. A strong reputation is important, so building maintaining and protecting their reputation is important for generating public support, as well as facilitating their own autonomy and discretion from political interference. However, the existing bureaucratic reputation literature has overlooked the fact that employees might possess multiple social identities that could also affect their motivations, as well as the possibility that the employees might seek to protect the reputations of other government bodies which they hold feel committed to. In our recent Policy and Politics article, we draw on social identity theory to argue that employees are not only concerned about the reputation of the agency for which they work, but also about other actors in the political–administrative system; for example, the ministry to which they belong or the cabinet they serve. We argue that these distinct reputational concerns can have both individual and organisational explanations. For instance, employees in senior positions will emphasise their organisation more than employees in lower positions, because it is their organisational attributions that they identify most closely with. In a similar vein, employees with work experience from their parent ministry will emphasise the ministry more than employees without such experience, because of early socialization processes.   Continue reading

Political Innovation, Digitalisation and Public Participation in Party Politics

Schmidthuber et al

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa Schmidthuber, Dennis Hilgers and Maximilian Rapp

Public sector institutions increasingly make use of modern information and communication technology to exchange knowledge with stakeholders and involve external actors in decision-making. Public participation has the potential to increase the knowledge base relevant for innovation and continuous improvement in policy-making. It can also enhance the relationship among actors, increase public trust and improve citizen satisfaction. Our recent article in Policy & Politics focuses on public participation in party politics. Specifically, our research focused on a political party which involved citizens in the development of its programme using an online platform.  Continue reading