SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 4 -Big dreams and small steps: regional policy networks and what they achieve
Special issue blog series on strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation
Nicolette van Gestel and Sanne Grotenbreg
In many Western countries there are high expectations of regional networks in policy areas as diverse as healthcare, energy supply or security. In such regional networks, government is supposed to develop partnerships with private and non-profit parties, to develop solutions to societal problems that have broad support and commitment. Generally speaking, both public and private actors often recognise that they need each other to achieve their goals. But this idea does not generate success by itself. Sometimes actors tend to focus on their own advantage when participating in networks, and are not very efficient nor effective in working together.
Our recent article in Policy & Politics focuses on a study of regional networks involved in labour market policy. Governments, employers, trade unions, clients and educational organisations are jointly looking for solutions to persistent problems, such as a discrepancy between vacancies and job seekers, and the lack of job opportunities for people with mental or physical disabilities. In other words, they need to solve problems of mismatch and inequality that have increased further during the Covid-19 crisis. Decentralisation and regional co–operation should, in principle, ensure more integrated and efficient public services, but also engender creative solutions that go beyond existing policy frameworks. Continue reading
Meeting the Challenge of Populism: The Future of Governance and Public Management
This blog post was originally published on the Discover Society – Policy and Politics blog on 6 November 2018.
In my recent Policy & Politics article, I explore the question of whether the governance paradigm can survive the rise of populism.
The governance paradigm that came to the fore from the 1980s onwards reflected a sense that the conditions for governing in contemporary democratic states were undergoing some profound changes. It encouraged the use of new policy tools: networks and markets. For its advocates, its style of working was not only more effective, but more democratic because it allowed a wider range of people direct influence over making decisions.
Policy & Politics Editorial Team co-chair a panel at ECPR on ‘strengthening local governance capacity through interactive political leadership’
Policy & Politics Editorial Advisory Board Member Eva Sorensen (Roskilde University) and Co-editor Sarah Ayres (Bristol University) co-chaired a panel on the first session of the 2017 European Consortium for Political Research Conference (ECPR) in Oslo, Norway.
The panel drew together a number of international scholars to examine how political leadership is enacted in interactive governance arenas. Gro Sandkjaer Hanssen (Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research) acted as discussant and drew attention to the range of policy and governance theories underpinning the analysis and the benefits of international comparative research.
Panelists debated the fact that local governments are facing a growing number of wicked and unruly problems that call for the exercise of political leadership that defines the problems and challenges at hand, designs new and innovative solutions and mobilizes support for their implementation. Unfortunately, many local councilors tend to spend most of their time acting as complaints services for the citizens, advanced case managers engaged in detail-regulation and controllers of the conduct of public bureaucracy. Consequently, they fail to exercise the kind of political leadership that is needed to deal with the deep-seated and emerging problems that confront local communities in times of crisis and turbulence. The result of this failure is a steady decline in political trust and a paralysis of local democracy that may trigger the rise of authoritarian populism. Continue reading