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Title: Governance and public sector work : a case study in further education
Author: Kedzierska, Doreen
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2003
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Promises by consecutive governments to ’reform the public services’ carry the implication that few changes have taken place in this sector since its inception, and that the negative image of the public sector still exercises the mind of the people as well as that of successive governments. Despite extensive reform, the transformation of the public sector appears to have produced a form of public service that satisfies no-one. One of the debates about public services has been whether provision is best achieved through a welfare state, which plans and provides services, or through the ‘market’, which is sometimes represented as a more efficient way of allocating resources and delivering services. The way this issue has been address by governments over the past 20 years or so has led to extensive changes within the public sector. Sociologically, this research is located at the intersection of a number of debates that have exercised the sociological imagination for the last decades of the 20th century. These include the forms and exercise of power in modern society, how society should be organised, and concerns about a social world that has become increasingly individualistic. However, the issues surrounding the reform of the public services also involve concepts and theories used in, and developed by, other disciplines from economics, politics, public administration and social policy to management. The argument made in this thesis is that the reform of the public sector is closely tied to issues of governance that stem from particular power relations. Those in power have governed through the development of specific rationalities and the thesis explores the concept of freedom both as a rationality and as a practice of government. These can be seen in the adoption of neo-liberal ideologies and practices in global and local contexts that have led to the introduction of market principles and mechanisms to aspects of social life that have changed the notion of collective provision for citizens to that of meeting the needs of individuals as consumers. In the research, Further Education is used as a case study to examine particular aspects of arguments. The incorporation of Further Education colleges in Scotland in 1993 demonstrated the application of the ideas and policies of the New Right through the introduction of market principles and as a result democratic representation, control, management, and governance within FE have changed in significant ways. To ascertain the significance of the reforms and ensuing changes, the merits and demerits of markets versus hierarchy; the extent and effects of decentralisation; new forms of control and scrutiny and the way processes and changes have been interpreted by key players will be evaluated. The forms of organisation that have emerged will be examined in terms of their intended and unintended consequences and it will be argued that despite the negative perceptions of reform, Further Education has used modifications in organisation to its own advantage. Finally, it will be shown that the particular form of governance that has been established can be used by different political administrations to meet their own objectives and that although Further Education has been criticised as some as being too adaptable, this very characteristic has, thus far, ensured its survival.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available