Power, decision-making and the representation of interests : a case study of compulsory competitive tendering for Local Authority Sport and Leisure Management
This thesis provides a critical analysis of the extension of Compulsory Competitive
Tendering (CCT) to the management of local authority sport & leisure facilities. Rather
than examining the impact of CCT on local authorities, the research looked at how local
authorities have defined the legislation and with what effect on the representation of
interests. It achieves this by using the concept of 'power' to inform its institutional
economic analytical framework and methodological process.
Chapter 1 provides a brief definition of the study's key terms and their relevance to
sport and leisure policy-making. A historical analysis of the local authority role in
recreation from the pre-industrial to the present is put forward in Chapter 2. This
seeks to explain the process of developments in public policy for leisure and thus
highlight factors with the potential to impact on the social construction of the sport and
leisure market. This serves to put CCT, or more specifically the problem of competition
for local authorities, in its historical context. Chapter 3 outlines the study's
methodological process which is informed by a particular model of power (Lukes, S.
1974 Power: A Radical View). In Chapter 4 the results of a large scale postal survey of
local authority Chief Leisure Officers and Directors of commercial leisure companies
are put forward to give initial notice of the 'winners and losers' in the CCT process and
the extent of activity and inactivity of particular interest groups.
Chapters 5 & 6 provide a theoretical progression within the field of institutional
economics that is capable of understanding the political realities of the CCT process. An
initial transactions cost analytical framework is put forward in Chapter 5 and then
informed by an evolutionary institutional economic analysis in Chapter 6. Neoclassical,
transactions cost and old institutional economic theory are criticised for having a limited
conceptualisation of power and a resultant inadequate appreciation of how more subtle
processes can serve to obstruct some interests and encourage others in the competition
for sport and leisure contract specifications.
Chapters 7 & 8 apply the new methodological process and analytical framework to two
indepth case studies. These survey a range of interested 'actors' on a range of issues to
highlight if, how and why some issues (and thus people) are able to reach the CCT
decision-making process while others are organised out. Relevant written material
within each authority is also considered to explain possible variations between theory
and practice. The aim is to show how the organisation of the process of decision-making
can influence the competition for contract specifications and what are perceived as
acceptable/unacceptable costs. Recommendations are then put forward that could
overcome perceived obstacles to a greater representation of interestsChapter 9 informs the previous economic analyses by using practitioners' and users'
responses from both case studies. In particular. an effort is made to provide a critique
of transactions cost theory as it has been applied to CCT for sport and leisure, while also
putting forward an evolutionary institutional economic analysis that appreciates the role
of power, values and ideology.
Chapter 10 concludes with an overview of how the thesis fulfils the academic
requirements of a doctoral research project