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A Government that Worked Better and Cost Less?Evaluating Three Decades of Reform and Change in UK Central Government$
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Christopher Hood and Ruth Dixon

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687022.001.0001

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Yesterday’s Tomorrows Revisited—the Route to Better and Cheaper Public Services

Yesterday’s Tomorrows Revisited—the Route to Better and Cheaper Public Services

(p.1) 1 Yesterday’s Tomorrows Revisited—the Route to Better and Cheaper Public Services
A Government that Worked Better and Cost Less?

Christopher Hood

Ruth Dixon

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter briefly reviews the recent history of government modernization efforts with emphasis on the New Public Management, a reform agenda with which the UK is particularly associated. Such reforms included drawing on ideas from business, bringing in new kinds of people as managers of government organizations, and structural makeovers of various kinds intended to cut running costs and make government more focused, responsive, or ‘joined-up’. New types of information technology were introduced with the aim of cost-cutting and introducing transformative change in the traditional workings of bureaucracy. And a stress on improved presentation and packaging of initiatives and ideas was aimed at making government more persuasive, effective and ‘user-friendly’. The chapter lays out nine possible outcomes of such reforms, in terms of what happened to costs of running government and of what happened to consistency and fairness in administration, to be explored in the subsequent chapters.

Keywords:   modernization, cost-cutting, reform agenda, New Public Management, information technology, presentation

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