Future Directions in Public Administration?


Research Paper 5 2001-02

Shaping Relations Between Government and Citizens: Future Directions in Public Administration?

Rose Verspaandonk
Politics and Public Administration Group
3 October 2001

Contents

Major Issues
Introduction
The Commonwealth Government and Public Administration

Ideas From Other Jurisdictions

Transparency and Accountability
Participation
Ethical Behaviour
Fairness

Learning from Other Jurisdictions

Conclusion-Broadening the Agenda
Appendix 1: Efficiency, Effectiveness and Responsiveness
Appendix 2: Efficiency Reforms in Australia and Other OECD Countries
Appendix 3: Useful Websites
Appendix 4: Useful Reading
Endnotes

Major Issues

'Public administration' refers to the rules and processes followed by the government when using public resources. It is important because it shapes the relationship between citizens and their elected representatives. Successful public administration ensures that the relationship between government and citizens is based on mutual respect. It does so by promoting efficient and effective resource management, responsiveness to clients, transparency in government operations and accountability for government actions, the opportunity for citizens to participate in policy-making, fair dealing between government and citizens, and the ethical behaviour of public officials.

Since the 1970s, successive Commonwealth Governments have sought to achieve these goals through the implementation of extensive and significant reforms in public administration. Since the mid-1980s, the goals of reform have become increasingly focused on the achievement of efficiency and effectiveness, and responsiveness to clients.

There is growing support for a renewed emphasis on the goals of transparency and accountability, participation, fairness and ethical behaviour. These goals are important because they establish the authority of citizens over their representatives. For this reason, their rigorous promotion might serve as a circuit-breaker to the cynicism that appears to have gripped Australian voters' perceptions of their political leaders. This paper aims to contribute to the discussion by providing examples of other governments' recent attempts to institutionalise these goals.

Many of these initiatives are designed to facilitate the participation of citizens in the policy-making process. Examples include a survey of citizens' views (Canada) through to online discussions for parliamentary inquiries (United Kingdom) and the use of consensus conferences (Norway), as well as online approaches by the European Commission, the Netherlands and Finland. Examples from Australian States are also discussed-Queensland's Community Cabinets and the Tasmania Together project. Facilitating participation appears to be an important objective for several of the Commonwealth Government's peers, and may provide a means with which to strengthen the credibility of Australia's major parties.

The paper also discusses several mechanisms designed to institutionalise ethical behaviour by public officials. These are the United Kingdom's Committee on Standards in Public Life, Canada's Office of the Ethics Counsellor, Queensland's Criminal Justice Commission and New South Wales's Independent Commission Against Corruption. Ensuring ethical behaviour may become an increasingly important priority for the Commonwealth Government as new ethical challenges are presented by the blurring of the boundaries between the public and private sectors.

Transparency and accountability motivate four of the initiatives discussed in this paper (from Canada, the United Kingdom, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory). This is an issue that is capturing growing attention from parliamentary committees, journalists and other government watchdogs.

Similarly, the recent discussion about the breaching of welfare recipients indicates that the issue of fairness might gain a greater public profile. The United Kingdom's attempts to achieve the open and merit-based appointment of public figures deal with a different aspect of fairness, but they support the important principle that all people (not just 'insiders') should be treated with respect and given the same opportunities as those who are well connected.

The Commonwealth Government's implementation of efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness reforms required considerable vision and determination. This paper argues that those qualities could also be employed to implement a range of reforms designed to promote transparency and accountability, participation, fairness and ethical behaviour. It also presents some possible approaches for consideration. The rewards could be better public administration and renewed public confidence in political institutions and players.

Introduction

The rise of Pauline Hanson's One Nation and the growth in support for other small parties and independent candidates suggest that Australian voters are increasingly disillusioned with the Liberal, National and Labor parties.(1) Three reasons are often cited for this decline-policy issues, the style of the mainstream parties, and a perception that parliamentarians are 'out of touch' and pampered. This paper discusses a fourth, and less commonly cited, set of issues-the way in which the Commonwealth Government manages its relationship with citizens and its use of public money.

'Public administration' refers to the rules governing the use of public resources and government authority. These rules partially determine how government revenue is spent and also help to shape relationships between the government and citizens. Sound practices in this area are critical for sustaining a healthy democracy because public confidence in government can only be maintained when the use of authority and public resources is demonstrably fair, efficient and ethical. Public administration is rarely considered to be an exciting field of inquiry. It often revolves around detailed structures and processes which, at best, appear to be remote from the lives of most people. At worst, they evoke frustration and contempt, as demonstrated by the negative connotations of the terms 'red tape' and 'bureaucracy'.(2) However, while these processes are often dull, their impact can be significant. This is because they can determine whether public money is wasted or spent to good effect. They can also determine the quality and fairness of government services. It is for these reasons that the Parliament, particularly through its committees, invests so much time and energy investigating public administration.(3)

Since the 1970s, administrative law reform, more equitable employment practices, enhanced accountability mechanisms and a range of efficiency initiatives have transformed the Commonwealth public administration framework.(4)During the Hawke, Keating and Howard Governments, reforms aimed at greater efficiency have been dominant. In this, the Australian Commonwealth Government has much in common with other governments, particularly in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Also important have been reforms aimed at enhancing the responsiveness of the Australian Public Service to the government and other clients.

This paper does not evaluate reforms already undertaken. Rather, it argues that there are other goals of public administration which are also important and which warrant renewed attention from policy-makers. These are transparency and accountability, participation, fairness and ethical behaviour by public figures. As well as being intrinsically important, these objectives appear to be widely shared by the Australian public and therefore constitute good politics. The paper discusses relevant reforms undertaken by various countries as well as Australian States and Territories, and argues that their consideration might benefit Commonwealth public administration.

The Commonwealth Government and Public Administration

Recent Commonwealth Government Reforms

Australia has embraced a range of reforms in public administration since the 1970s.(5) Successive governments have generally consolidated, or at least tolerated, the reforms of previous governments. However, since 1983 there has been a clear shift in emphasis towards the pursuit of efficiency and responsiveness. The Hawke and Keating Governments developed this emphasis in the 1980s and 1990s, and the Howard Government has continued it. The resulting changes to the Commonwealth public sector have been profound, as evidenced by the common shift in terminology from the traditional 'public administration' to the results-oriented 'public management'. These changes were implemented in conjunction with fiscal restraint and falling public service staff numbers.(6)

Australia's Standing in Public Administration

It is difficult to find objective measures of successful public administration. However, the following indicators support the conclusion that the quality of Commonwealth public administration is relatively high.

  • Transparency International(7) has rated Australia 11th of 91 countries in terms of a low degree of corruption, as perceived by business people, academics and risk analysts (score of 8.5 out of 10, with 10 indicating a very low level of corruption)(8)
  • Australia exports public sector innovations (approximately $2 billion in 1997, or two per cent of total exports)(9)
  • some academic and professional opinion places Australia in the vanguard of efficiency reforms(10)
  • the 1998 Global Competitiveness Report rated Australia 12th (of 53 countries) in terms of perceived civil service independence(11)
  • the 2001 World Competitiveness Yearbook rated Australia 5th in terms of its public service being perceived by executives to be immune from political interference, (12)and
  • the 2001 World Competitiveness Yearbook rated Australia 6th in terms of executives' perceptions that bribery and corruption do not exist in the public sphere.(13)

While laudable, these measures provide no grounds for complacency. The National Crime Authority's claims about the extent of organised crime in Australia suggest that a more pro-active ethics infrastructure may be required to ensure that the Commonwealth Government's political, administrative and judicial systems are not compromised.(14) Further, there is anecdotal evidence to support the conclusion that citizens are experiencing a level of frustration with respect to their opportunity to participate in decision-making (or at least be heard) and with the secrecy of executive government. The Weekend Australian's July 2001 survey of voters in marginal electorates found that many 'say they think Australia's political leadership is not listening to the concerns of voters.'(15) Similarly, a leaked memo by Liberal Party President Shane Stone is said to have stated 'Our leadership is not listening', and 'The government won't even listen to our own people, so what hope the public?'.(16) Crispin Hull of The Canberra Times has referred to the anger and disillusionment fostered by the actions of executive governments, concluding that:

In the long run, openness, decency and looking after the middle ground have their own political reward. They are good politics as well as good governance.(17)

High quality public administration needs to be cultivated. The purpose of this paper is to present some ideas for maintaining and enhancing Australia's already strong framework.

Further, it should be noted that most of the 'measures' discussed above rely on perceptions, whether of academic commentators, other governments or business executives. While it is instructive to take these perceptions into account, it is also important to seek the views of citizens. The Canadian attempt to gauge the opinions of citizens is discussed later in this paper. Given the level of political frustration apparently being voiced by many Australian voters, such an approach might be useful in determining the level of satisfaction with the Commonwealth Government's approach to administration.

The Goals of Public Administration

Public administration has the potential to contribute to social capital and public trust only if it reflects the values of the people it is meant to serve (i.e. the government and citizens). High quality public administration should be marked by:

  • efficient and effective resource management and service delivery
  • responsiveness to clients (government and the public)
  • transparency in government operations and accountability for executive actions
  • opportunities for citizens to participate in policy-making
  • fair dealing between government and citizens, and
  • the ethical behaviour of public officials.

While it is useful to discuss the goals listed above individually, it is also important to note that they can be (but are not necessarily) mutually reinforcing. For example, the inter-relatedness of participation, transparency, efficiency and fairness has been described as follows:

Besides increasing the flow of information to public officials, techniques for citizen and client consultation can introduce more openness and transparency into the system. As more people become aware of the performance of specific agencies or officials, they are more likely to exert collective pressure on the agency to perform better. At the same time public agencies will have less opportunity for arbitrary action.(18)

Unfortunately, these goals can also be in competition with one another. For example, in some situations efficiency savings from outsourcing need to be weighed against a resulting loss in transparency. Just as efficiency is not the only goal we take into account when evaluating our democratic system of government, we need to consider, and sometimes prioritise, a range of goals when we evaluate, and develop, our system of public administration.(19)

Initiatives promoting efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness will not be discussed in this paper. This is because they have been the main foci of reform since the mid-1980s and the purpose of this paper is to present ideas that promote the other goals listed above. However, readers wanting to know more about the reforms already undertaken should consult Appendix 1 (for discussion of Australia) and Appendix 2 (for discussion of international trends).

Transparency, accountability, participation, fairness and ethical behaviour are important for reasons of principle because they strengthen citizenship, social capital and democracy. They also make good sense for governments because under-emphasising them feeds public cynicism and mistrust about government. As people become more educated and assertive and continue to see a significant proportion of their income taxed by governments, they can be expected to demand that governments submit to more rigorous rules about how public resources are used and policies are developed. In most Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, government spends a substantial proportion of the gross domestic product (GDP). In 1999 government spending ranged from 21.83 per cent in Mexico to 66.89 per cent in Denmark. Australian governments (Commonwealth, State and Territory) spent 43.47 per cent of the GDP.(20)

While the goals of efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness have dominated reform since the 1980s, it would be inaccurate to assert that all reforms have fallen into these categories. Other innovations in public administration include the following:

It could be argued that these important goals have been partially undermined by other measures. For example the Commonwealth Government's accrual budget documentation has been criticised for being opaque(24) and Centrelink's approach to breaching social security recipients has been characterised as harsh, unfair and indiscriminate.(25) However, the purpose of this paper is not to conduct an evaluation of reforms to date. Rather, it is to present some initiatives for consideration by the Parliament. None of these initiatives would undermine the implementation of efficiency measures.

Political Context

Generally speaking, Australian public administration reforms have been philosophically in tune with other contemporary policies. The pursuit of efficiency and responsiveness in the public sector can be viewed as a component of the broader microeconomic reform agenda which commenced in the 1980s. However that reform agenda was driven by elite, rather than popular, opinion.(26) Media reports cite participation, transparency and accountability as values that citizens would like to see practiced more effectively by governments. Electronic voting on policy issues and citizens' deliberative panels have been suggested as ways of institutionalising participation.(27) The Australian Labor Party's Carmen Lawrence has suggested a range of mechanisms to promote participation and transparency. These include deliberative polls, the investigation of all petitions, the promotion and sponsorship of civic forums and the strengthening of freedom of information legislation.(28) A related development is the use of parliamentarians' websites to canvass public opinion on policy issues or government services (see for example the websites of Mark Latham(29) and Marise Payne(30)). However, these are more accurately viewed as facilitating constituents' participation in the political realm than facilitating citizens' participation in the government's policy development process.

In line with this trend, there appears to be growing public concern about the ethics and accountability of the private sector. Two relevant Royal Commissions (into the collapse of HIH Insurance and practices in the construction industry) have been called in the space of less than three months,(31) and survey data indicates that Australians are becoming wary of deregulation and privatisation as well as pessimistic about business ethics.(32)

Professor Owen Hughes and Associate Professor Deirdre O'Neill from Monash University have argued that the 1999 downfall of the Kennett Coalition Government in Victoria can be partly attributed to its comprehensive implementation of measures such as privatisation, funding cuts to health and education services, and a substantial increase in competitive tendering and contracting (including some public audit functions).(33) To these could be added questions about tendering processes and weakened capacity to scrutinise contracts. This is a broad list of grievances that goes beyond the boundaries of public administration as defined in this paper. However, there is evidence to suggest that Victorian voters were concerned about some of the 'process' issues of government. For example, considerable anger was expressed about the reduced autonomy of the Auditor-General, and the three independent members of the Legislative Assembly after the 1999 election made the institutionalisation of 'open and accountable government' a precondition of their support.(34)

In recent Australian elections, many citizens have flexed their muscles by voting for minor parties and independents. This has had a direct impact on public administration because independents and minor parties have a strong record in promoting transparency and participation.(35)

Ideas From Other Jurisdictions

Efficiency-focused approaches have been influential in other countries as well (for more details, see Appendix 2). However, a range of other reforms has also been implemented, and this section discusses examples of initiatives that are intended to promote transparency and accountability, participation, ethical behaviour and fairness. The point of this section is to highlight initiatives that might complement Australia's reform record if introduced by the Commonwealth Government.

The initiatives that follow constitute just a fraction of what the Commonwealth Government can learn from other jurisdictions, as they don't include longstanding practices (e.g. citizen-initiated referenda in Switzerland). For practical reasons of data collection, several initiatives have been the subject of OECD reports and they are mostly from English-speaking countries from which information was more readily available. Therefore the initiatives that are discussed should be viewed as a selection of possible options rather than representing the state of play in global public administration.

While it is unlikely to be a comprehensive list, all potentially relevant initiatives that were found have been included. For this reason, some goals (e.g. participation) are represented by several initiatives while others (e.g. fairness) are not. This does not necessarily mean that fairness is under-valued, as it has already been the subject of significant reform (e.g. the establishment of Ombudsmen).

Many of the examples are from polities with a Westminster-style parliamentary system (the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australian States and Territories). These initiatives might be the most readily adapted to the Commonwealth Government context. Where possible, information has been provided on the results or evaluation of these initiatives. However, in many cases this information was not yet available.

Transparency and Accountability

The institutionalisation of transparency and accountability reflects the principle that governments should be answerable for the way they use public resources and exercise authority. The Australian Public Service Values refer to the public service being 'openly accountable for its actions, within the framework of Ministerial responsibility to the Government, the Parliament and the Australian public'. Examples of mechanisms that facilitate transparency and accountability include:

  • the Auditor-General's power to conduct financial audits and performance audits
  • the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998
  • Parliament's powers to probe the Executive (e.g. committees, Question Time, powers of the Senate)
  • freedom of information rights, and
  • the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

An area in which the Commonwealth Government faces frequent criticism is the lack of transparency in public appointments and government contracts. Three governments' approaches to institutionalising transparency are discussed here. Also discussed is a rather unusual example of an accountability mechanism. The Canadian Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development is primarily intended as a mechanism for protecting the environment, making it a policy initiative. However, the Commissioner's establishment within the Office of the Auditor-General demonstrates an innovative use of the accountability mechanism-extending its scope beyond efficiency to encompass accountability for the 'use' of environmental resources.

Open Appointment of Public Figures-United Kingdom

In November 1995 the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments(36) was established. The Commissioner's role is to monitor, regulate, report on and advise on appointments to public bodies. She also investigates complaints about appointments or how applications are handled. Appointments must encompass the principles of ministerial responsibility, merit, independent scrutiny, equal opportunity, probity, openness and transparency and proportionality.

In July 2000, a report was prepared for the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Public Perceptions of the Public Appointments Process(37) found that only eight per cent of respondents from the general community had heard of the Office. The recognition factor was higher among senior managerial and professional people and those involved in many community and voluntary activities. Perceptions of the appointment process were 'overwhelmingly negative'(38), presumably reflecting this lack of awareness. However, when asked to describe how the process should occur, respondents endorsed the merit principle institutionalised by the Office.

These findings appear to demonstrate the importance (and perhaps difficulty) of informing the public about innovations such as this and promoting their effectiveness.

The Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments is also discussed under 'Fairness'.

Publishing of Government Contracts-Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, Australia

In January 2000, the Victorian Government:

commissioned an independent Audit Review of Government Contracts to examine the privatisation, outsourcing and other contracting arrangements entered into by the Victorian Government between 1992 and 1999.(39)

The review was released in June 2000. It recommended that 'Government departments should publicly disclose, to the maximum extent possible, the details of the major contracts to which they are a party.'(40) New contracts over $10 million are intended to be made available at http://www.contracts.vic.gov.au and some existing contracts will also be made available.

Similarly, the Public Access to Government Contracts Act 2000 (ACT) requires the ACT Government to publish on the internet all contracts worth more than $50 000. These are available at http://www.basis.act.gov.au/sta/ca.nsf.

Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development-Canada

This initiative extended the concept of auditing to environmental considerations. Since June 1996, Canada has had a Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development(41) whose role 'is to assist parliamentarians in their oversight of the federal government's efforts to protect the environment and foster sustainable development, by providing them with objective, independent analysis and recommendations.'(42) The Commissioner's responsibilities include:

  • monitoring sustainable development strategies (i.e. the extent to which departments have implemented the action plans and met the objectives outlined in their strategies)
  • incorporating environmental considerations into audits and conducting special studies of environmental issues
  • forwarding petitions on environmental matters to the appropriate minister on behalf of the Auditor General, and
  • reporting annually to the House of Commons on matters relating to the environment and sustainable development.

Participation

As well as providing the right to vote, a well-functioning democracy could be expected to grant citizens the right to be consulted between elections about the work of government. In its discussion of the 'new paradigm for public management', the OECD's 1995 report Governance in Transition referred to opportunities for feedback from 'clients and other interest groups'. It also referred to the 'well-performing public sector' taking 'a more participative approach to governance'.(43)

Although it is not included in the Australian Public Service Values, this approach is a logical development given the growing level of taxation(44) and Australia's increasingly well-educated and assertive citizenry. The OECD website has a section dedicated to 'engaging citizens'.(45) Participation might also increase the level of trust in public institutions. Examples of current participation mechanisms include:

  • parliamentary committee inquiries
  • stakeholder consultation mechanisms
  • client surveys by Centrelink and other service providers
  • the youth round table, and
  • funding of advocacy groups.

Non-government initiatives in this area include deliberative polling,(46) the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Australia Talks and the House of Representatives' emphasis on communicating the work of the House and its committees to the public. This appears to be an area in which the Commonwealth Government is not at the forefront of reform, although its efforts to improve citizens' understanding of government and political institutions may help to build a foundation for popular participation.

A renewed focus on the quality of service delivery and concern about citizen alienation have prompted other governments to implement several initiatives designed to gauge the views of clients and citizens. This section discusses approaches taken by the governments of Finland, Canada, the United Kingdom and Norway, the Netherlands, Queensland and Tasmania, as well as the European Commission and parliamentary committees in the United Kingdom. It is interesting to note that several of these initiatives involve direct interaction between citizens and the public service. For Westminster-based systems, this represents a significant break with the traditional practice of maintaining the anonymity of public servants and emphasising the representative role of Members of Parliament. Other initiatives, such as Community Cabinets, maintain the traditional roles, while encouraging greater input from citizens.

Internet Forum-Finland

In April 1998 the Finnish government resolved that:

On all administrative levels, the real possibilities of the citizens to influence matters as well as the openness and transparency of administration will be increased.(47)

In November 1999 the Ministry of Finance launched a project called New information technology and citizen's possibilities to influence. The aim of the project is to explore ways of strengthening connections between citizens and the government through the use of information technology. It includes a discussion forum on the internet in which citizens can discuss issues such as the quality of public services. According to the government's report to the OECD,(48) there has been a good level of interest in the forum, though more people are visiting the site than are engaging in discussion.

Citizens First Survey-Canada

In 1998 the Canadian Centre for Management Development and several federal and provincial government agencies commissioned a survey of citizens on their service needs, expectations, satisfaction and priorities for service improvement. Approximately 2 900 Canadians completed the survey. The report to the OECD(49) noted that:

According to the results of the survey Canadians rate public sector services in the same range as private sector services. In the Citizens First survey, Canadians gave seven private sector services an average rating of 6.2 out of ten, whereas they gave federal services an average rating of 6.0, provincial services an average rating of 6.2, and municipal services an average rating of 6.4 out of 10. These results are consistent with a 1993 survey undertaken by the UK Citizens Charter Office which demonstrated that UK citizens rated individual public and private sector services in generally the same ranges. The Citizens First survey also identified the five key drivers of satisfaction and dissatisfaction: timeliness, competence, courtesy, fairness and outcome.

The summary report is available at http://www.ccmd-ccg.gc.ca/pdfs/cit-first.pdf.(50) Canadian governments are using the results of the survey to improve performance through the Results for Canadians initiative,(51) which seeks to secure a significant and quantifiable improvement in client satisfaction within five years.

Health Forum-Canada

From 1994 to 1997, the federal government held a forum to discuss the direction of health policy. Chaired by Prime Minister Chretien, the main body also included the Health Minister (as vice-chair) and twenty-four individuals (economists, health policy analysts, physicians, community activists and others). Provincial ministries were also invited to be associated with the forum. The consultation process included:

  • the distribution of a consultation document
  • discussion groups involving 1300 Canadians
  • an internet discussion group
  • letters, briefs and submissions
  • polling
  • media appearances
  • a conference of key stakeholders, and
  • a preliminary report, followed by two conferences of citizens and stakeholders and telephone surveys.

On 4 February 1997, the forum presented the Prime Minister with Canada Health Action: Building on the Legacy.

Since the forum, Canada has initiated the development of Federal Policy Statement and Guidelines on Engaging Canadians which is intended to enhance the consultative culture of the federal government (December 2000 draft available at http://www.ccmd-ccg.gc.ca/programs/special/mtp/precourse/consultation/policy.pdf).(52)

Canada's report to the OECD(53) on the health forum refers to a poll that indicated that '88 per cent of Canadians would feel better about government decisions if they knew that governments regularly sought informed input from average citizens'.(54) It also makes the point that health policy is changing and this has implications for the relative influence of traditional stake-holders such as physicians.(55)

In assessing the impact of the forum and the challenges that it faced, that report made the following observations:

  • 'Many initiatives rooted in the work of the Forum are being realized today', examples being the establishment of the Aboriginal Health Institute and the Canadian Health Information Network
  • the contributions of different groups needed to be weighted, leaving some groups feeling unhappy with the outcome
  • capturing the diversity of the community in discussion groups was difficult
  • senior political and bureaucratic support was vital, as was adequate resourcing
  • many Canadians were prepared to devote the time required to participate, and the deliberation process was successful in encouraging reflection and 'ownership'
  • it was valuable to have forum members engaged as individuals and volunteers, rather than representatives of stakeholder groups, and
  • 'the Forum succeeded in heightening the level of dialogue surrounding health and health care issues across Canada.'

People's Panel-United Kingdom

In 1998 the United Kingdom Cabinet Office's Modernising Public Services Group established the People's Panel. Its purpose is to assist the government to know the public's views on government services. The panel consists of 5 000 members of the public, with a profile that is representative of the population in terms of age, gender, region and a wide range of other demographic indicators. An additional 830 members have been recruited from ethnic minorities to ensure that there is a large enough sample of this group to be used for quantitative research.

In May 2000 the Government released its first evaluation report of the project. The purpose of the evaluation was to establish that the Panel was operating effectively across a range of customers and uses. It concluded that the panel had demonstrated a need in Whitehall for a rapid survey tool, had met that need well for the majority of users, and had shown its value as a symbol of consulting consumers. The report made several recommendations, including suggested measures to avoid the panel becoming unrepresentative, or 'conditioned'.

The report to the OECD can be found at http://www.oecd.org/puma/focus/compend/uk.htm, and further information (including the evaluation report) is available at
http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/servicefirst/index/pphome.htm.(56)

Online Discussions for Parliamentary Inquiries-United Kingdom

In 1999 the House of Commons Select Committee on Public Administration commissioned an online discussion(57) on the 'participatory possibilities offered by the new electronic technologies' during its inquiry into innovations in citizen participation in government.(58) According to the Hansard Society,(59) which conducted the discussion:

A selected panel of experts, with experience of e-democracy projects, took part in a closed discussion. We also wanted to hear from the wider public. So, we invited them to send us their own thoughts. The best were included in the submission to be made to the Select Committee. There was also a chance to add weight to our online opinion barometer. This was not a voting or scientific polling device, but a monitor intensity of opinions held.

Other parliamentary committees have since followed this approach. For example, during August-September 2001, an online discussion was conducted on Parliament's role in scrutinising the Executive.

Consensus Conferences on Genetically Modified Food-Norway

In 1996 the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board and National Committees for Research Ethics decided to conduct two consensus conferences on the genetic modification of food. According to Norway's report to the OECD,(60) this was partly in response to a perceived weakening of political participation in Norway (indicated by falling political party membership and voter turnout), and also to a perceived need to balance expert knowledge with public insight, understanding and control.

The first conference was held in October 1996. It involved sixteen people from different parts of Norway and with diverse backgrounds. They did not have close links with occupations or organisations with established policies in the area. The same people were involved in a follow-up conference in November 2000.

An independent evaluation of the 1996 conference gave it a good rating, saying that 'there were good conditions for dialogue' and that 'there had been a relatively balanced discussion'. It also noted the important role played by the facilitator.(61) The cost of the conferences was around 175 000 EUR (approximately A$306 700)(62) and was met by various ministries and public institutions.

Norway's 2001 report to the OECD observed that the conference's main contribution might have been raising public awareness rather than influencing government. It has also led to further conferences on other issues such as science, health and medicine.

Interactive Policy-Making Initiative-European Union

The European Commission has announced an initiative designed to involve citizens, consumers and businesses in policy development and evaluation. The Interactive Policy-Making Initiative(63) includes:

  • 'a feedback mechanism which helps to collect spontaneous reactions in the marketplace, using existing networks and contact points as intermediaries, in order to obtain continuous access to the opinions and experiences of economic operators and EU citizens', and
  • 'a consultation mechanism which will allow the more rapid and structured collection of stakeholders' reactions to new initiatives.'

According to the European Commission:

Feedback will be more structured than is presently the case and will, at the same time, be able to accommodate more complex issues than is possible using existing on-line questionnaires or opinion surveys.

Examples of online consultations can be found on the website.(64) For example, the web page for consultation on the recast of the existing detergent legislation has some introductory information, a preliminary business impact statement, a draft proposal and a press release. Interested parties are invited to e-mail their views to the Enterprise Directorate-General, which may publish responses on the website.

Expertise Center for Innovative Policy Making-Netherlands

The Expertise Center for Innovative Policy Making,(65) known as XPIN, was launched in June 2001. It aims to harness information technology to develop different ways of involving citizens in policy development. The ultimate goal is to enhance 'horizontal cooperation' (the exchange of information between citizens and government).

Ministries, regional authorities and local authorities have developed a range of approaches for various policy issues. The role of XPIN is to 'compile the acquired know-how and experience and apply it elsewhere in government organizations.'(66) 'XPIN collects best practices of innovative policy-making in order to enhance innovation at the national, regional and local level of government.'(67) Its website also lists some projects from other countries. The activities of XPIN include:

  • collecting knowledge about, and gaining insights into, best practices in the field of 'horizontal government' (i.e. participative government), and disseminating these insights among participants
  • establishing links and promoting cooperation between administrators and civil servants involved in new, interactive forms of decision-making, and
  • compiling knowledge, gaining insights and stimulating the use of structured information technology (especially the Internet) in forms of interactive policy-making.

XPIN has been instituted for four years with an interim evaluation yet to be undertaken.

Community Cabinets-Queensland, Australia

Community Cabinets(68) involve the Queensland Cabinet visiting a regional city or town, with Ministers making themselves available to talk directly with citizens. In the words of Patrick Bishop and Jim Chalmers, who have discussed the politics behind Community Cabinets:

A typical Community Cabinet Meeting includes: an informal function, in which the Premier addresses the gathering; one or two sessions in which individuals citizens or community groups can make formal deputations to Ministers; a Cabinet Meeting; a media conference; and an official luncheon.(69)

Community Cabinets were triggered by the demand of Peter Wellington MP (who held the balance of power after the 1998 election) for a more participative style of government. However, they are also a response to the growing cynicism displayed by voters towards the major parties.

The first Community Cabinets were held in Longreach and Barcaldine in January-February 1999. By June 2000, Premier Beattie noted that his government had 'talked and worked with hundreds of organisations and thousands of people, many of who would never have spoken to a Minister before' and had met with 4500 deputations.(70) In 1999, Bishop and Chalmers observed that Community Cabinets had received both positive and negative responses. They noted that media coverage had generally been positive and a survey of Gold Coast participants 'indicated broad endorsement of the process'.(71) Media criticism had been based around the claims that the process is ineffectual, expensive and electorally driven (e.g. meetings in One Nation seats and marginal Labor seats).(72)

Tasmania Together-Tasmania, Australia

The purpose of Tasmania Together(73) is for Tasmanians to develop a plan for how they would like their State to be in 2020. Broad goals have been articulated (e.g. ensuring all Tasmanians have a reasonable standard of living with regard to food, shelter, transport, justice, education, communication, health and community services). These goals are then translated into more specific challenges (e.g. reducing workplace accidents and illnesses).

The goals and challenges were identified during a consultation process initiated by Premier Bacon in February 1999. This included the formation of a Community Leaders Group, the holding of a conference, the release of a discussion document Our Vision Our Future, and community consultations carried out between February and May 2000. The community consultations resulted in:

  • 4000 comment sheets returned from the discussion document Our Vision Our Future
  • over 6200 visits to the web site
  • 60 community forums held around the State
  • over 160 detailed written submissions received, and
  • over 100 community organisations directly consulted face-to-face and over 2500 Tasmania Together postcards returned.

On 3 September 2001 the Tasmania Together report was released. The independent Progress Board will take responsibility for monitoring progress and encouraging community groups to assist in reaching benchmarks. The report has attracted some criticism. For example, the Chief Executive of the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry commented that:

The overall flavour is one of Utopia. ... Everybody's wish is on the table to be granted and one must ask the question 'who is to pay for this paradise as it must come at someone's expense?'(74)

Political support for the project is also an issue, with the leader of the Liberal Party boycotting the launch and Greens MP, Peg Putt, saying that she would withdraw her support if benchmarks reducing logging did not become government policy by December.(75)

Ethical Behaviour

Ethical standards are intended to prevent public officials from using their position to benefit themselves (or others close to them). They are critical for maintaining public confidence in public institutions and ensuring the effective use of resources. An inverse correlation has been found between the perceived level of corruption in a country and foreign direct investment.(76) The OECD has stated that:

Integrity has become the fundamental condition for governments to provide a trustworthy and effective framework for the economic and social life of their citizens. The institutions and mechanisms for promoting integrity are more and more considered as basic components of good governance.(77)

The implementation of private sector-style approaches to public management raises some new ethical challenges. For example, is it appropriate for managers (who are expected to behave more like their private sector counterparts) to give and receive gifts? Also, as agencies or departments develop their own culture and ethos, and increasingly recruit from the private sector, will traditional public service ethics become fragmented and weakened? The OECD has noted that:

Internalising ethics is more and more difficult for a public service which has converged with other sectors. Maintaining distinct public service standards needs special efforts from managers to motivate public servants. Additionally, governments need to anticipate situations that might weaken adherence to the distinct public service values and standards of behaviour and prepare suitable responses to prevent adverse effects.(78)

The issue of public sector ethics appears to be a high priority within the OECD itself as well as many of its member countries. A visit to the OECD website's ethics pages(79) reveals a large number of guidance materials, studies and conference notifications.

In a study of nine countries' attempts to promote ethical behaviour,(80) the OECD identified four main themes-attempts to redefine values, new codes of conduct, whistle-blowing procedures, and requirements to declare interests and assets. The report noted an emphasis in most of these countries on broad guidance and greater transparency rather than detailed control, arguing that such an approach 'reflects wider trends in public management.'(81)

Some individual ethics initiatives will be discussed below. However, the overall flavour of action in this area can be gleaned from an OECD study published in 2000:

  • 'almost all OECD countries have developed a more detailed description of standards expected of all public servants in sensitive situations', and 'legislating standards of behaviour for the whole public service has been a strong tendency throughout the OECD area'(82)
  • 'over one-third of Member countries have already updated their core public service values in the last five years and further reviews are still being undertaken'(83)
  • 'a growing number of OECD countries ... criminalise breaches of core public service values and principles, such as impartiality in decision-making, and upholding the public trust: not using the public office for private gain'(84)
  • 'a growing number of countries have been recognising the advantage of using new technology, especially the Internet and interactive CD ROMs, to give information on values and expected standards as well as to train public servants on ethics issues'(85)
  • 'empowering an independent commissioner or commission (Ombudsman) to scrutinise maladministration has become a popular instrument in over half of the countries. An emerging trend is to create a specialised independent unit for public service ethics'(86)
  • 'countries are increasingly realising the necessity of prevention [of corruption] because they have recognised that the more they pay attention to prevention, the less enforcement is needed'(87)

As discussed above, Australia has a good reputation with respect to ethical behaviour. Mechanisms intended to promote it include the following:

The transparency and accountability mechanisms discussed above also encourage ethical behaviour through the likelihood of disclosure. The initiatives discussed below might complement this framework.

Committee on Standards in Public Life-United Kingdom

The Committee on Standards in Public Life (also known as the Nolan Committee) was formed in October 1994. It has a diverse membership which includes academics, business figures, serving and former parliamentarians, a rabbi and others. Its original terms of reference were:

to examine current concerns about standards of conduct of all holders of public office, including arrangements relating to financial and commercial activities, and make recommendations as to any changes in present arrangements which might be required to ensure the highest standards of propriety in public life.(90)

In November 1997, additional terms of reference were added:

to review issues in relation to the funding of political parties, and to make recommendations as to any changes in present arrangements.(91)

The committee has reported, and made recommendations, on a range of issues, including

  • standards of conduct in local government (third report)
  • the funding of political parties (fifth report), and
  • standards of conduct in the House of Lords (seventh report).

The committee also plans to:

undertake a systematic review of the action taken on the Committee's first six reports. This will help us determine whether there are gaps and areas where new works needs to be done. The stock-take of recommendations will be published early in the autumn of 2001 and will provide a firm foundation for our work for the next year.

The Committee has also decided to commission research into public attitudes about standards of conduct in public life. This rolling assessment of public opinion will enable us to identify key issues and whether attitudes are changing.(92)

Office of the Ethics Counsellor-Canada

The Office of the Ethics Counsellor(93) was created by the Chretien Government in June 1994. It has responsibility for the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders, the Lobbyists Registration Act, and the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct.

The Office provides advice on ethical issues to federal and provincial departments and agencies, foreign governments and private sector organisations. Its responsibilities have included:

  • being available to the Prime Minister to investigate allegations against his Ministers and senior officials involving conflict of interest or lobbying
  • administering the Prime Minister's Conflict of Interest Code for public office holders (all members of the Federal Cabinet, their spouses and dependent children, ministerial staff and senior public servants)
  • having responsibility for the Lobbyists Registration Act
  • consulting the lobbying industry in order to issue a code of conduct to set the standard for behaviour in the industry
  • offering guidance to lobbyists and their clients before they enter into dealings with the federal government
  • investigating complaints about lobbying activities that appear to be contrary to the lobbyists' code of conduct, and requiring the reporting of lobbying fees with respect to government contracts, and
  • reporting annually to Parliament on matters related to lobbying.(94)

In a 1999 speech in Australia(95), the Ethics Counsellor, Mr Howard Wilson explained that the Office was established in response to the 'growing sense among Canadians that private interests were crowding out the public interest in decision-making', and the 'sense that a new generation of lobbyists, and the people who could afford their services, had become far too influential in the halls of government'. He described his jurisdiction as being:

the gray areas of potential or real conflict of interest. In practice, these are issues that may seem broadly wrong in the eyes of citizens, without ever actually being illegal.(96)

The Ethics Counsellor reports to the Prime Minister, underlining his role as a source of independent advice rather than an officer of the Parliament (such as the Auditor-General).

Criminal Justice Commission-Queensland, Australia

The Criminal Justice Commission(97) was established by the Criminal Justice Act 1989 (Qld) as a result of the Fitzgerald Commission of Inquiry which commenced in 1987. Its role is to monitor, review and initiate reform of the administration of criminal justice in Queensland. This role extends to the prevention and investigation of public sector corruption and includes activities such as:

  • investigating complaints of misconduct in the public sector, including State-run prisons
  • gathering and analysing intelligence on public sector corruption
  • conducting investigations and hearings and protecting witnesses when necessary
  • educating the community in avoiding, detecting and dealing with workplace corruption, and
  • advising and supporting whistleblowers.

Chief Executive Officers of government departments and all police officers are required by law to refer cases of wrongdoing that come to their attention. The Commission is accountable to the Parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee and the Parliamentary Commissioner. The Commission reports that since 1989, it has received over 22 000 complaints.

Independent Commission Against Corruption-New South Wales, Australia

The Independent Commission Against Corruption(98) was established in 1989 in response to community concern about the integrity of the public sector. In his second reading speech for the relevant Bill, the Premier, Nick Greiner, said:

Nothing's more destructive of democracy than a situation where people lack confidence in those administrators that stand in a position of public trust. If a liberal and democratic society is to flourish we need to ensure that the credibility of public institutions is restored and safeguarded and that community confidence in the integrity of public administration is preserved and justified.(99)

The Commission's role is to:

  • expose corruption through investigations which can include public hearings
  • prevent corruption by giving advice and developing resistance to corrupt practices in public sector organisations, and
  • educate the public sector and the community about corruption and the role of the Commission.

The Commission is subject to several accountability mechanisms including the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Operations Review Committee and reporting and oversight requirements.

Fairness

Fairness refers to the right of citizens to be treated justly and consistently with others (e.g. in relation to income support or government employment). Fairness is an objective of several of the Commonwealth Government's reforms of the 1970s and 1980s, and the Australian Public Service Values(100) refer to the importance of fairness and equity for clients, employees and potential employees. Mechanisms include:

  • the Purchasing Advisory and Complaints Service
  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal
  • Commonwealth Ombudsman
  • judicial review
  • merit selection for public employment, and
  • workplace diversity and equal employment opportunity rules and initiatives.

Currently, there does not appear to be a large amount of reform by other governments that is designed to promote fairness. However, one initiative from the United Kingdom may be of interest to Australia.

Open and Merit-Based Appointment of Public Figures-United Kingdom

As discussed under 'Transparency', the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments(101) was established in November 1995. The Commissioner monitors, regulates, reports on and advises on appointments to public bodies. Her role also includes investigating complaints about appointments or how applications are handled. Appointments are required to encompass the principles of ministerial responsibility, merit, independent scrutiny, equal opportunity, probity, openness and transparency and proportionality.

In June 1998 the United Kingdom Government launched an initiative designed to increase the representation of women and minorities on public bodies, and to make appointments based on merit. As well as a central action plan, departments have individual plans(102) to further this end. For example, the Cabinet Office aims to increase the percentage of appointments to people from ethnic minorities from 2.6 per cent in 1998 to 4 per cent in 2002, and is planning to establish a target for representation of people with disabilities.

Learning from Other Jurisdictions

The United Kingdom

Several of the initiatives discussed above are from the United Kingdom. These might be of particular interest to Commonwealth parliamentarians due to the strong similarities between both countries in terms of political structure and administrative history.

As discussed, the issue of whether governments are listening to the community has been a point of contention in Australia. Also of concern is the perception that talk-back radio hosts, big business and trade unions exercise disproportionate influence on policy-making.(103) The People's Panel's direct solicitation of the views of ordinary (i.e. not usually influential) citizens could be a valuable mechanism for institutionalising consultation by the Commonwealth Government. Similarly, Parliamentary committees may wish to explore the possibility of conducting or commissioning online forums.

The public responses to the Reith telecard incident(104) and the Senate inquiry into parliamentarians' superannuation entitlements(105) indicated a community perception that many parliamentarians (and possibly other public figures) believe that they operate under different rules from ordinary people. A body similar to the Committee on Standards in Public Life, involving non-parliamentarians as well as some parliamentarians, might be able to restore public confidence by investigating issues and, where appropriate, recommending reforms.

The open and merit-based selection of public figures could be expected to be a well-received initiative in Australia. The appointment of people with political affiliations to international posts and public boards (particularly the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Board) has prompted concerns about partisanship and fuelled cynicism about 'jobs for the boys/girls'.

More broadly, the United Kingdom's approach suggests a possible reform trajectory for Australia-the move from traditional public administration towards efficiency-oriented public management that began during the 1980s, and then the more rigorous incorporation of goals such as fairness, participation, ethics and transparency. It is interesting to note the active role that the British Parliament is taking in this process, both in using participatory mechanisms for committee work and in calling for the extension of participation. For example, the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee has called for further initiatives in participation, including a competitive fund for sponsoring innovation in consultation, the routine use of deliberative techniques, the establishment of a Public Participation Unit in the Cabinet Office, and the streamlining and clarification of requirements to consult.(106)

Canada

The Canadian system of government, like the Australian, is a Westminster-derived federation. It has implemented several initiatives which may be of interest to Australian parliamentarians.

The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development provides an interesting example of the potential to expand the scope of independent audit beyond its current focus on efficiency. Another possible criterion on which government agencies could be evaluated is the impact of their policies and operations on public health.(107)

The Citizens First Survey and Health Forum provide different models of initiating public participation in the decision-making process. These approaches are potentially more inclusive than the People's Panel but not necessarily more representative. Selecting and empowering a statistically representative group of people may be more genuinely inclusive than calling for public input. This is particularly the case for those people who lack confidence in articulating their views. However, any of these mechanisms may be appropriate, depending on the circumstances.

Australia may need to consider procedures that ensure Parliament's integrity with respect to lobbying, particularly if there is a fragmentation of representation within the Parliament (i.e. more parties and/or more independents).(108) Canada's Office of the Ethics Counsellor only covers Ministers (and their families and staff) and senior public servants. However, Australia might be able to adapt this approach to cover all Members of Parliament if this is thought to be desirable.

Other Countries

Several European countries and the European Commission have implemented initiatives designed to facilitate participation:

  • the Finnish Internet Forum and the European Commission's Interactive Policy-Making Initiative provide examples of relatively low cost ways to increase community participation in policy-making
  • the Norwegian Consensus Conference model is narrower but deeper, encouraging a small number of citizens to deliberate on a particular issue, and
  • the Dutch Expertise Center for Innovative Policy Making is a more exploratory approach. There may be scope for Australia to contribute to its work and learn from its accumulated experience.

Australian States and Territories

One of the advantages of a federal system of government is that the different jurisdictions can observe each other's actions and learn from them. This paper has presented several initiatives by Australian States and Territories that Commonwealth parliamentarians may wish to consider.

  • The Queensland Criminal Justice Commission and the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption were both established in response to crises. Such a trigger has not occurred at the Commonwealth Government level. However a similar institution might serve to enhance and promote the integrity of Commonwealth public officials (both elected and non-elected).
  • Parliamentary committees, the Auditor-General(109) and the media frequently call for greater transparency in government contracting. For example the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee has stated that:

Partnerships with government need to be open, well documented and conducted with integrity-not only because the public has a right to know how public funds are spent, but because anything less may expose the Commonwealth to litigation, is costly and undermines public confidence.(110)

The Victorian and ACT practice of publishing most contracts would be a step in this direction.

  • The Queensland and Tasmanian governments' different approaches to engaging more actively with citizens warrant consideration by the Commonwealth Government. The Queensland approach opens the day to day work of government to wider input, and the Tasmanian approach asks citizens to identify their aspirations for the State.

Conclusion-Broadening the Agenda

Substantial public administration reform has been implemented by successive Commonwealth governments since the 1970s. These reforms have covered areas as diverse as freedom of information, rights to appeal against government decisions, equity in employment practices and private sector oriented management practices.

In line with the dominance of free market economics since the mid-1980s, this reform agenda has become increasingly focused on achieving efficiency gains and enhancing responsiveness. While not engaging in the debate about the merits of this agenda, this paper has sought to emphasise the importance of other objectives, particularly transparency and accountability, participation, fairness and ethics.

As well as being intrinsically important, a renewed focus on these goals may provide the efficiency-responsiveness reform agenda with more credibility by demonstrating to a wary electorate that governments are willing to undertake reforms that enhance the authority of citizens. For example, mechanisms for institutionalising the goals discussed in this paper could be expected to be welcomed by an electorate that appears to be increasingly cynical of government.

The Commonwealth Government's approach to public administration has been marked by adventurousness. Examples of initiatives pioneered by Australia include the Public Service Board, the Commonwealth Grants Commission, the administrative law framework, the incorporation of feminist perspectives and methods, and Centrelink.(111) Australia has also been an early and comprehensive advocate of private sector-style management reforms. This paper has presented some initiatives that could broaden the reform agenda-an outcome that might encourage renewed public confidence as well as improving the quality of public administration.

Appendix 1: Efficiency, Effectiveness and Responsiveness

The purpose of efficient and effective resource management and service delivery is to ensure that the optimal benefit is extracted from the use of public resources. As the OECD has observed:

Any inefficiency must be funded by higher charges or taxes or passed on as costs or hardships arising from poor service. Society as a whole ultimately bears the burden of higher taxes and related deadweight losses.(112)

The efficiency and effectiveness agenda has been implemented in conjunction with an enhanced focus on responsiveness to clients (citizens and Ministers). While the chart that follows mostly documents efficiency reforms, these have been complemented by such innovations as electronic service delivery, rural transaction centres, choice of service providers in some cases (e.g. employment services), and the use of private sector language (e.g. 'service', 'client', 'customer'). In several cases the goals of efficiency and responsiveness to clients can be served by the same means. An example of this is electronic service delivery, which has the potential to provide easy and flexible access to citizens as well as cost savings to the government.

In Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, efficiency measures have been implemented so comprehensively and coherently that many commentators refer (with either satisfaction or frustration) to the triumph of 'managerialism' or 'new public management', which has been described in the following terms:

a focus on management, not policy, and on performance appraisal and efficiency; the disaggregation of public bureaucracies into agencies which deal with each other on a user-pays basis; the use of quasi-markets and contracting out to foster competition; cost-cutting; and a style of management which emphasises, amongst other things, output targets, limited-term contracts, monetary incentives and freedom to manage.(113)

Advocates of managerialism argue that it:

  • facilitates the more efficient use of public resources, with resulting economic and social benefits
  • promotes high quality service delivery by providing choice and/or information about standards and performance,(114) and
  • enhances the accountability of public servants to Ministers through the use of clear objectives and written performance agreements, and a reduction in anonymity.(115)

Critics of managerialism argue that it:

  • is premised on the erroneous belief that the public and private sectors can be managed in the same way, underplaying the importance of due process, accountability and the distinction between citizens and clients(116)
  • misrepresents bureaucracy, or public administration, as unresponsive and inefficient (e.g. ignoring earlier examples of innovation within bureaucracies)(117)
  • has failed to deliver the superior management of public resources,(118) and
  • undermines morale in the public service by devaluing its distinctiveness and subjecting it to continual cost-cutting.(119)

Another comment that has been made about managerialism is that it fails to address some fundamental problems, such as the need for horizontally integrated policy advice(120) and reform of political institutions.(121) This is not necessarily a criticism because one approach should not be expected to solve every problem. However, it does highlight the need for efficiency measures to be implemented in a framework that also has strong regard to the other objectives of public administration.

The following chart outlines many of the public administration changes that have been implemented to enhance efficiency.

Traditional approach of the public service

New approach of the public service

Examples of changes

Integration of policy formulation and service delivery

Government as monopoly provider of functions and services

Separation of policy formulation and service delivery, possibly with the latter being contracted to the private or voluntary sector. This is sometimes referred to as 'steering not rowing'.

Contestability of functions (i.e. possibility that they will be carried out by a different agency or the private or voluntary sectors)

  • establishment of Centrelink to provide services on behalf of other government agencies
  • increasing use of outsourcing (e.g. employment services, corporate services, information technology)
  • opening government business enterprises to competition (e.g. Telstra)
  • increasing use of private sector finance to build public infrastructure(122)

Emphasis on following established processes

Emphasis on achieving identified results, with responsibility attributed to individual managers

  • performance reporting
  • performance agreements
  • performance bonuses
  • risk management
  • accrual budgeting(123)

Relatively closed employment framework and expectation of a career in the public service

Employment available to all and greater likelihood of a career moving between the public and private sectors

  • greater use of external advertising for positions
  • 'headhunting' from the private sector

Strong role for trade unions in determining conditions and practices

Reduced role for unions and increased role for staff overall

  • management-staff-union consultative committees
  • certified agreements subject to agreement by at least 50% of voting staff
  • Australian Workplace Agreements between an individual and an agency

Centralised determination of conditions and practices, and collection of information

Devolution of responsibility

  • remuneration and conditions determined at agency level
  • some information no longer available on a whole-of-government basis (e.g. cessation of quarterly reviews informing the Minister for Finance and Administration of actions taken in response to Auditor-General recommendations)(124)

Accountability mechanisms unique to government (e.g. Ombudsman, Auditor-General, Parliamentary scrutiny)

Continuing, role for traditional accountability mechanisms, along with new emphasis on market-style mechanisms

  • contestability
  • service charters
  • disagreement between Executive government and some parliamentary committees over commercial confidentiality of government contracts

Appendix 2: Efficiency Reforms in Australia and Other OECD Countries

Implementation of Efficiency Measures

Efficiency measures have been implemented in most developed countries (and many developing countries). In the words of B. Guy Peters:

The ideas of the new public management (NPM) have become the gold standard for administrative reform around the world, albeit at different times and at different rates.(125)

Professor John Halligan of the University of Canberra has grouped OECD countries into three categories according to their implementation of efficiency-oriented approaches:(126)

  • Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have been the most comprehensive reformers (with Canada and the United States occupying a more ambiguous position)
  • most European states fall into the middle category, although there is variation between them, and
  • Germany, Japan and Switzerland have implemented relatively limited reform, although this situation may be changing.

Examples of commonly adopted measures include financial management reform and devolution, downsizing, civil service reform, outsourcing, performance measurement, corporatisation and privatisation. However, there is also considerable variation. For example, Halligan observes that '... the extensive use of market principles for core functions defines the boundary that many countries are not prepared to cross.'(127) The following examples illustrate the variety of approaches within the OECD:(128)

  • a 1997 study of OECD countries found that the most widely adopted reform was decentralisation. This is not a feature of managerialist approaches as defined in this paper. Nor has it figured prominently in the Australian experience(129)
  • Pollitt and Summa's study of Finland, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom found a greater emphasis on managerial reforms in the English-speaking countries. This was particularly the case with respect to privatisation, the use of market mechanisms within the public sector and the intensity of the reform process.(130) Peters also found that Anglo-American countries tended to lead administrative reform. He attributed this largely to their emphasis on management rather than law or economics as the basis for administration. Peters noted that the slower innovators, particularly German-derived systems, emphasised administration 'as a manifestation of the legal system'(131)
  • while adopting several other market-style approaches, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have been reluctant to embrace privatisation(132)
  • managerial reforms in Spain have been implemented more coherently by regional and local governments than by the central government. This has been attributed partly to the strong influence of a legal, bureaucratic mindset, which distrusts managerial discourse, and(133)
  • while the United Kingdom has enthusiastically implemented managerialist approaches, it has also pioneered reforms designed to improve the openness of government.

Explaining International Variation and Convergence

To the extent that there is a common international approach to the reform of public administration, this would be managerialism. This raises the question of why some countries have adopted this agenda more comprehensively than others. The following table provides some possible answers to this question.

Explanation

Evidence

Families of nations and administrative culture

Historical and cultural bonds may engender a common administrative culture. This will influence the direction of future reforms. It will also mean that countries do not begin the reform process with identical administrative approaches.

Administrative culture has been found to be more predictive of policy behaviour than economic circumstances and the political complexion of the relevant government.(134)

For example, the Anglo-American administrative culture may be more conducive to managerialism than its continental counterparts, particularly the law-based German approach.(135)

Structure of political institutions

A strong Executive in a unitary state may enjoy greater scope to implement difficult reforms.

The autonomy of the Executive can influence the character and extent of reform.(136) It is interesting to note that even though the United States was the source of much managerialist thinking, it implemented less of it than the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, all of which have an Executive that controls the Parliament (the lower house in the case of Australia).(137)

Influence of economists and economic agencies

The New Zealand example suggests that the status of central departments (particularly Treasury) can influence the character and extent of reform.(138)

Influence of economic policy approaches

There appears to be a correlation between adherence to economic rationalist policies and managerialist policies (e.g. United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand). Advocates of both approaches place a high value on achieving efficiency gains and increasing the use of market mechanisms.

Likewise, the more interventionist European states appear to demonstrate greater confidence in the ability of the state.

Perceptions of crisis

For various reasons, countries may face a similar (or different) set of circumstances that encourage a particular direction for reform.

In the 1980s Australia experienced difficult economic conditions (e.g. declining commodity prices and currency and rising foreign debt). This gave added force to the argument that the public sector needed to become more efficient.

The British House of Commons established the Nolan Committee following a spate of controversies involving politicians, including allegations about certain members accepting money for asking parliamentary questions.

Political complexion of governments

We might expect that reforms would be broadly consistent with the governing party's ideology.

The evidence is mixed. While stronger managerialist reforms have often been implemented by overtly right of centre parties, their traditionally left-wing (or less right-wing) counterparts have surprised observers with their approach. Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are good examples of this phenomenon.

Appendix 3: Useful Websites

Australian Federal Government website (includes search engine)

http://www.fed.gov.au

Australian Parliamentary Library's Government and Public Administration page (by the Politics and Public Administration Group)

http://www.aph.gov.au/library/intguide/pol/polgov.htm

Canadian Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/domino/cesd_cedd.nsf/html/menu_e.html

Canadian Federal Policy Statement and Guidelines on Engaging Canadians

http://www.ccmd-ccg.gc.ca/programs/special/mtp/precourse/consultation/
policy.pdf

Canadian Office of the Ethics Counsellor

http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/oe00001e.html

Canadian Policy Research Initiative

http://policyresearch.schoolnet.ca/

Canadian Public Service Commission

http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/index_e.htm

Canadian report to the OECD on the Citizens First survey

http://www.oecd.org/puma/focus/compend/ca.htm

Canadian report to the OECD on the health forum

http://www.oecd.org/puma/citizens/pubs/Canada.pdf

Canadian Results for Canadians initiative

http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/si-si/sii-ias/about/index_e.shtml

Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (many links)

http://www.capam.comnet.mt/

Dutch Expertise Center for Innovative Policy Making

http://www.xpin.nl/overxpin/english.php3

English Social Exclusion Unit

http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/seu/index.htm

European Commission interactive policy-making

http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/consultations/
index.htm
(examples)

http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/update/
citizen/ipm.htm
(information)

Finnish report to the OECD on the internet forum

http://www.oecd.org/puma/focus/compend/fi.htm)

Irish Government's Committee for Public Management Research

http://www.gov.ie/cpmr/

New Zealand State Services Commission

http://www.ssc.govt.nz/siteset.htm

Norwegian report to the OECD on the consensus conference on genetically modified food

http://www.oecd.org/puma/citizens/pubs/Norway.pdf

NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption

http://www.icac.nsw.gov.au

OECD ethics website

http://www.oecd.org/puma/ethics/index.htm

OECD Public Management page

http://www.oecd.org/puma

Queensland Community Cabinets

http://www.thepremier.qld.gov.au/communitycabinet/
index.htm

Queensland Criminal Justice Commission

http://www.cjc.qld.gov.au

Tasmania Together

http://www.tastogether.asn.au

United Kingdom Cabinet Office

http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk

United Kingdom Civil Service

http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/index/civilservice.htm

United Kingdom Commissioner for Public Appointments

http://www.ocpa.gov.uk/

United Kingdom Committee on Standards in Public Life

http://www.public-standards.gov.uk

United Kingdom initiative to increase the representation of women and minorities on public bodies, and to make appointments based on merit

http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/central/1999/openpa/

United Kingdom Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments

http://www.ocpa.gov.uk/

United Kingdom online discussions for Parliamentary inquiries

http://www.democracyforum.org.uk/edemocracy.asp

United Kingdom People's Panel

http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/servicefirst/index/pphome.htm

United Nations Online Network in Public Administration and Finance

http://www.unpan.org/

United States Office of Government Ethics

http://www.usoge.gov/

United States Office of Management and Budget

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb

United States Office of Personnel Management

http://www.opm.gov

United States ethics bodies at the State level

http://www.state.ma.us/ethics/INTERESTING_LINKS.HTM

Victorian central register of contracts

http://www.contracts.vic.gov.au

Appendix 4: Useful Reading

Selected Publications by the Parliamentary Library

Creyke, R., 'The Administrative Appeals Tribunal-What's Happening?', Current Issues Brief no. 8, 1999-2000.

De Laine, M., 'International Themes in Public Service Reform', Background Paper no. 3, 1997-98.

Dippelsman, R., 'Thirty years of Parliamentary and Public Service Salaries', Research Note no. 50, Jan.-June 1995.

Gilfillan, G., 'The Changing Nature of the Australian Public Service', Research Note no. 21, 2000-01.

Kryger, T. and D. James, 'The Changing Size of the Commonwealth Public Service', Research Note no. 46, 1995-96.

Mulgan, R., 'Politicising the Australian Public Service?' Research Paper no. 3, 1998-99.

Nethercote, J., 'New Public Service Legislation: the Public Service Bill 1997', Background Paper no. 2, 1997-98.

Nethercote, J., 'Public Sector Executive Salaries', Research Note no. 23, 1998-99.

Nethercote, J., 'Departmental Machinery of Government Since 1987', Research Paper no. 24, 1998-99.

Ohlin, J., 'Will Privatisation and Contracting Out Deliver Community Services?' Research Paper no. 15, 1997-98.

O'Neill, S., 'Agency Bargaining in the Australian Public Service: A Stocktake', Research Note no. 18, 1996-97.

O'Neill, S., 'Report of the Public Service Act Review group: summary and contents', Research Paper no. 3, July-December 1995.

O'Neill, S., Review of 'Towards A Best Practice Australian Public Service', Current Issues Brief no. 13, 1996-97.

Spry, M., 'Procedural Fairness and the Right to Dismiss a Senior Public Servant', Research Note no. 3, 1999-2000.

Verspaandonk, R., 'Accrual Budgeting-State of Play', Research Note no. 30, 1999-2000.

Verspaandonk, R., 'Changes in the Australian Public Service 1975-2000', Chronology No. 1, 2000-01.

Verspaandonk, R., 'The Independence of the Auditor-General', Research Note no. 16, 2000-01.

Verspaandonk, R., 'Commonwealth Government Service Charters', Research Note no. 32, 2000-01.

Verspaandonk, R., 'Outsourcing-For and Against', Current Issues Brief no. 18, 2000-01.

Winter, G., 'Whither Public Sector Employment?' Research Note no. 17, 1997-98.

Other References

Australian Council of Social Services, 'Harsh penalties of $170 million doled out to 200 000 people', media release 9 November 2000.

Australian Council of Social Services, ACOSS Info 220, 26 October 2000.

Australian Council of Social Services, submission to the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit's 2001 review of accrual budget documentation.

Bardouille, Nand C., 'The transformation of governance paradigms and modalities: Insights into the marketization of the public service in response to globalization', The Round Table, 2000.

Bishop, P. and Jim Chalmers 'A response to populism: Community Cabinets in Queensland', conference paper presented to the 1999 Australasian Political Science Association Conference (also published in the Published Proceedings of the Australasian Political Science Association Conference 1999).

Borins, Sandford, 'The new public management is here to stay', Canadian Public Administration, Spring 1995.

Bourn, John (Comptroller and Auditor-General, United Kingdom), 'Improving public services', International Journal of Government Auditing, October 2000.

Cheung, Anthony B.L., 'Understanding public-sector reforms: global trends and diverse agendas', International Review of Administrative Sciences, December 1997.

Considine, Mark and Martin Painter (eds), Managerialism: The Great Debate, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 1997.

Denhardt, Robert B. and Jane Vinzant Denhardt, 'The new public service: Serving rather than steering', Public Administration Review, November-December 2000.

Department of Finance and Administration, Finance Circular 1999/02.

Goldfinch, Shaun, 'Reforming the public sector in New Zealand: A sceptical analysis', Canberra Bulletin of Public Administration, August 1998.

Halligan, John (ed.), Public Service Reform, Centre for Research in Public Sector Management, University of Canberra, 1998.

Halligan, John, 'Contribution of the Australian Public Service to Public Administration and Management', paper presented to the 'Centenary of the Australian Public Service' conference, Rydges Hotel, Canberra, 19 June 2001.

Ham, Laurie, 'Strengthening Government-Citizen Connections: Health Policy in Canada', OECD, Paris, 2000.

Haque, M. Shamsul, 'Public service under challenge in the age of privatization', Governance, April 1996.

Haque, M. Shamsul, 'The diminishing publicness of public service under the current mode of governance', Public Administration Review, Jan-Feb 2001.

Howard, Marcus, 'Canada-Public sector reform and renewal', Canberra Bulletin of Public Administration, August 1998.

Hughes, Owen and Deirdre O'Neill, 'Public Management Reform: Some Lessons from the Antipodes' in Lawrence R. Jones, James Guthrie and Peter Steane (eds), Learning from International Public Management Reform, Elsevier Science, Kidlington, Oxford, 2001.

Hughes, Owen, New public management: A parliamentary perspective, Working Paper 27/00, Department of Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University, April 2000.

Hughes, Owen, Public Management and Administration: An Introduction (second edition), Macmillan, South Yarra, 1998.

Jordan, Amanda, speech to the National Institute for Governance symposium, 'What Does Government Expect from Business and What Can Business Deliver in Return?', Canberra, 28 June 2000, available in Canberra Bulletin of Public Administration, September 2000.

Kennedy, Maurie, submission to the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit's 2001 review of accrual budget documentation.

Lane, Jan-Erik (ed.), Public sector reform: Rationale, trends and problems, Sage, London, 1997.

Lane, Jan-Erik, 'Reform in the Nordic countries' in Jan-Erik Lane (ed.), Public sector reform: Rationale, trends and problems, Sage, London, 1997.

Long, Stephen, 'It's a bad business', Australian Financial Review, 21-22 July 2001.

National Welfare Rights Network and Australian Council of Social Services, 'Doling out punishment: the rise and rise of social security penalties', ACOSS Info 220, 26 October 2000.

OECD, Ethics in the public service: Current issues and practice, Public Management Occasional Papers No. 14, OECD, Paris, 1996.

OECD, Governance in Transition: Public Management Reforms in OECD Countries, OECD, Paris, 1995.

OECD, Trust in Government: Ethics measures in OECD countries, OECD, Paris, 2000.

Pan Suk Kim, 'Administrative reform in the Korean central government: A case study of the Dae Jung Kim Administration', Public performance & management review, December 2000.

Peters, B. Guy, 'Policy transfers between governments: The case of administrative reforms', West European Politics, October 1997.

Petrie, Murray, 'Transparency and Accountability in New Zealand: An Assessment', Public Sector, March 2001.

Pollitt, Christopher and Hilkka Summa, 'Trajectories of reform: Public management change in four countries', Public Money & Management, January-March 1997.

Pollitt, Christopher and Geert Bouckaert, Public management reform: A comparative analysis, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000.

Public Service and Merit Protection Commission, State of the Service: Australian Public Service Statistical Bulletin 1999-00.

Rhodes, R. A. W., 'Traditions and public sector reform: Comparing Britain and Denmark', Scandinavian Political Studies, Vol. 22 No. 4, 1999.

Rose, Joseph B., Gary N. Chaison and Enrique de la Garza, 'A comparative analysis of public sector restructuring in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Carribbean', Journal of Labor Research, Fall 2000.

Savoie, Donald J., 'What is wrong with the new public management?", Canadian Public Administration, Spring 1995.

Stivers, Camilla, 'Resisting the ascendancy of public management: Normative theory and public administration', Administrative Theory and Praxis, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2000.

The World Competitiveness Yearbook 2001, IMD, Lausanne, 2001.

Vardon, Sue, 'Exporting the APS: The international impact of APS innovations', paper presented to the 'Centenary of the Australian Public Service' conference, Rydges Hotel, Canberra, 19 June 2001.

World Bank, World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World, Oxford University Press, New York, 1997.

Wright, Vincent, 'Reshaping the State: The Implications for Public Administration', West European Politics, July 1994.

 

Endnotes

  1. This issue is discussed in Scott Bennett, 'The Decline in Support for Australian Major Parties and the Prospect of Minority Government', Research Paper no. 10, Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1998-99, available at http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rp/1998-99/99rp10.htm

  2. It could also be argued that the dullness of Commonwealth public administration is partly due to its current focus on the pursuit of efficiency. Although important, these issues are often technical and complex.

  3. See the websites of the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee (http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/fapa_ctte/index.htm) and the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jpaa/index.htm)
  4. See Rose Verspaandonk, 'Changes in the Australian Public Service 1975-2000', Chronology no. 1, Department of the Parliamentary Library, 2000-01 (http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/chron/2000-01/01chr01.htm) for more detail.

  5. These are detailed in Rose Verspaandonk, 'Changes in the Australian Public Service 1975-2000', Chronology no. 1, Department of the Parliamentary Library, 2000-01 (http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/chron/2000-01/01chr01.htm)

  6. Between 1991 and 2000, total Australian Public Service employment fell from 161 874 to 110 954 (Public Service and Merit Protection Commission, State of the Service: Australian Public Service Statistical Bulletin 1999-00).

  7. http://www.transparency.org/documents/cpi/2001/cpi2001.html

  8. The index is available at http://www.transparency.org/documents/cpi/2001/cpi2001.html

  9. Sue Vardon, 'Exporting the APS: The international impact of APS innovations', paper presented to the 'Centenary of the Australian Public Service' conference, Rydges Hotel, Canberra, 19 June 2001, p. 2. Examples cited by Vardon include the Australian National Audit Office's Better Practice Guides and innovations by the National Archives, such as the Australian Government Locator Service Metadata Standard.

  10. Examples cited by Vardon (ibid. pp. 8-10) include the accrual budgeting framework, which inspires 'frequent visits from overseas delegations', and the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998, which is part of the fiscal transparency framework praised by the International Monetary Fund. Professor John Halligan regards Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom as the leaders of efficiency-oriented reform in the OECD (see Appendix 2).

  11. World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 1998, World Economic Forum, Geneva, Switzerland, 1998, p. 215.

  12. Institute for Management Development, The World Competitiveness Yearbook, IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2001, p. 76.

  13. ibid.
  14. National Crime Authority, NCA Commentary 2001, available at http://www.nca.gov.au/content/publications/NCA_Commentry_2001-28977.pdf

  15. Stuart Rintoul, 'Who's the leader of the land?', The Weekend Australian, 28 July 2001.

  16. Michael Gordon, 'Stoned', The Age, 5 May 2001. Parts of Shane Stone's memo to Prime Minister Howard were made public in May 2001. The memo was written in the aftermath of the Queensland election and is said to have reported a perception that the Howard Government was 'mean' and 'out of touch'.

  17. Crispin Hull, 'Good governance needs more than referendums', The Canberra Times, 17 March 2001.

  18. World Bank, World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World, Oxford University Press, New York, 1997, p. 117.

  19. For a discussion of the competing considerations raised by the issue of government outsourcing, see Rose Verspaandonk, 'Outsourcing-For and Against', Current Issues Brief no. 18, 2000-01 (http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/cib/2000-01/01cib18.htm)

  20. Institute for Management Development, The World Competitiveness Yearbook, IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2001, p. 405.

  21. http://www.psmpc.gov.au/media/index.html

  22. http://www.dfat.gov.au/dept/code_of_conduct.html

  23. For details see Rose Verspaandonk, 'The Independence of the Auditor-General' Research Note no. 16, 2000-2001 (http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rn/2000-01/01RN16.htm)
  24. See for example submissions by the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) and Mr Maurie Kennedy to the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit's 2001 review of accrual budget documentation at http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jpaa/accrualbudget/subs.htm, and also the transcript of the Committee's public hearing on 22 June 2001 at http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/joint/commttee/j4854.pdf

  25. National Welfare Rights Network and Australian Council of Social Services, 'Doling out punishment: the rise and rise of social security penalties', ACOSS Info 220, 26 October 2000, http://www.acoss.org.au/info/2000/info220.htm and ACOSS 'Harsh penalties of $170 million doled out to 200 000 people', media release, 9 November 2000.

  26. See for example, Michael Pusey, Economic Rationalism in Canberra: A Nation-Building State Changes its Mind, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1991. Pusey discusses the role played by senior bureaucrats and university economics departments in promoting microeconomic reform.

  27. For example, Mark Latham MP, 'Internet gives us all a mouse that roars', The Sunday Mail, 14 May 2000 and Gabrielle Bammer, 'No easy avenue to consensus', The Canberra Times, 17 July 2001.

  28. Carmen Lawrence MP, 'A democracy in crisis', The Age, 23 August 2000.

  29. http://www.thirdway-aust.com

  30. http://www.marisepayne.com
  31. On 18 June 2001, Prime Minister Howard announced that Justice Owen would 'inquire into the reasons for, and the circumstances surrounding, the failure of HIH prior to the appointment of the provisional liquidators on 15 March 2001'. See http://www.pm.gov.au/news/media_releases/2001/media_release1100.htm for the full terms of reference. On 26 July 2001, Prime Minister Howard announced that former Justice Terry Cole would be asked to investigate the building and construction industry. See http://www.pm.gov.au/news/media_releases/2001/media_release1133.htm for the full terms of reference.

  32. Discussion of Quantum Market Research's AustraliaSCAN survey in Stephen Long, 'It's a bad business', Australian Financial Review, 21-22 July 2001.

  33. Owen Hughes and Deirdre O'Neill, 'Public Management Reform: Some Lessons from the Antipodes' in Lawrence R. Jones, James Guthrie and Peter Steane (eds), Learning from International Public Management Reform, Elsevier Science, Kidlington, Oxford, 2001.

  34. The charter is available at http://www.vicnet.net.au/~susandavies

  35. Examples include Peter Wellington (Queensland), the Australian Democrats (Commonwealth), Clover Moore and Peter McDonald (New South Wales) and Susan Davies, Craig Ingram and Russell Savage (Victoria).

  36. http://www.ocpa.gov.uk/

  37. http://www.ocpa.gov.uk/reports/morireport.pdf
  38. Public Perceptions of the Public Appointments Process, p. 4, available at http://www.ocpa.gov.uk/reports/morireport.pdf

  39. http://www.tenders.vic.gov.au/contracts/major/default.asp, dowloaded 26 July 2001.

  40. ibid.

  41. http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/domino/cesd_cedd.nsf/html/menu_e.html

  42. http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/domino/cesd_cedd.nsf/html/99mand_e.html, downloaded 26 July 2001.

  43. OECD, Governance in Transition: Public Management Reforms in OECD Countries, OECD, Paris, 1995, pp. 8 and 10.

  44. Commonwealth taxation revenue as a percentage of GDP has risen from 19% in 1969-70 to 23.8% in 1999-2000.

  45. http://www.oecd.org/puma/citizens/index.htm

  46. Deliberative polling involves the intensive education of a selected group of people, along with the monitoring of their views on a particular issue. For example, the organisation Issues Deliberation Australia conducted deliberative polling on the republic issue in 1999 and reconciliation in 2001. See http://www.i-d-a.com.au for more information.

  47. http://www.oecd.org/puma/focus/compend/fi.htm

  48. http://www.oecd.org/puma/focus/compend/fi.htm

  49. http://www.oecd.org/puma/focus/compend/ca.htm

  50. The summary report is available at http://www.ccmd-ccg.gc.ca/pdfs/cit-first.pdf

  51. http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/si-si/sii-ias/about/index_e.shtml
  52. December 2000 draft available at http://www.ccmd-ccg.gc.ca/programs/special/mtp/precourse/consultation/policy.pdf

  53. http://www.oecd.org/puma/citizens/pubs/Canada.pdf

  54. Laurie Ham, 'Strengthening Government-Citizen Connections: Health Policy in Canada', OECD, Paris, 2000, p. 1.

  55. Laurie Ham, 'Strengthening Government-Citizen Connections: Health Policy in Canada', OECD, Paris, 2000, p. 7.

  56. The report to the OECD can be found at http://www.oecd.org/puma/focus/compend/uk.htm, and further information (including the evaluation report) is available at http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/servicefirst/index/pphome.htm

  57. http://www.democracyforum.org.uk/edemocracy.asp
  58. House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee, Sixth Report: Public Participation: Issues and Innovations, Volume One, London, 26 March 2001, p. v.

  59. http://www.democracyforum.org.uk/

  60. http://www.oecd.org/puma/citizens/pubs/Norway.pdf

  61. Alf J. Morkrid, 'Strengthening Government-Citizen Connections: Using Consensus Conferences on Genetically Modified Food in Norway', report to the OECD, 14 March 2001, p. 15.

  62. The Australian dollar figure was determined on 13 September 2001, using a conversion rate of 1 AUD=0.570514 EUR.

  63. http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/update/citizen/ipm.htm

  64. http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/consultations/index.htm.

  65. http://www.xpin.nl/overxpin/english.php3

  66. http://www.xpin.nl/overxpin/english.php3, dowloaded 8 August 2001.

  67. ibid.

  68. http://www.thepremier.qld.gov.au/communitycabinet/index.htm Also, in March 2001 the Queensland Government formed a Community Engagement Division in the Department of Premier and Cabinet to facilitate the engagement and involvement of communities in the work of the Queensland Government, including a Public Consultation Project and an E-Democracy Project. The division includes the Office for Women, Premier's Council for Women, Regional Communities, Multicultural Affairs Queensland, Cape York Partnerships, and Crime Prevention Queensland.

  69. Patrick Bishop and Jim Chalmers, 'A response to populism: Community Cabinets in Queensland', paper presented to the Australasian Political Science Association Conference 1999.
  70. Premier Beattie, 'State of the State' speech, 6 June 2000, available at http://www.thepremier.qld.gov.au/speeches/stateofstate.htm

  71. Patrick Bishop and Jim Chalmers, 'A response to populism: Community Cabinets in Queensland', paper presented to the Australasian Political Science Association Conference 1999, p. 14.

  72. Patrick Bishop and Jim Chalmers, 'A response to populism: Community Cabinets in Queensland', paper presented to the Australasian Political Science Association Conference 1999, pp. 15 and 16.

  73. http://www.tastogether.asn.au

  74. Damon Thomas, quoted in Don Woolford, 'Not so together in Tasmania', AAP news service, 3 September 2001.

  75. Don Woolford, 'Not so together in Tasmania', AAP news service, 3 September 2001.

  76. The study was by Shang-Jun Wei. Murray Petrie, 'Transparency and Accountability in New Zealand: An Assessment', Public Sector, March 2001, p. 14.

  77. OECD, Trust in Government: Ethics measures in OECD countries, OECD, Paris, 2000, p. 11.

  78. OECD, Trust in Government: Ethics measures in OECD countries, OECD, Paris, 2000, p. 19. See pp. 28-30 of that report for further discussion of the ethical challenges heightened by managerialism.

  79. http://www.oecd.org/puma/ethics/index.htm

  80. The countries were Australia, Finland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. The study was published under the title, Ethics in the public service: Current issues and practice, Public Management Occasional Papers No. 14, OECD, Paris, 1996.

  81. OECD, Ethics in the public service: Current issues and practice, Public Management Occasional Papers No. 14, OECD, Paris, 1996, p. 58.

  82. OECD, Trust in Government: Ethics measures in OECD countries, OECD, Paris, 2000, p. 13.

  83. OECD, Trust in Government: Ethics measures in OECD countries, OECD, Paris, 2000, p. 12.

  84. OECD, Trust in Government: Ethics measures in OECD countries, OECD, Paris, 2000, p. 13.

  85. OECD, Trust in Government: Ethics measures in OECD countries, OECD, Paris, 2000, p. 14.

  86. OECD, Trust in Government: Ethics measures in OECD countries, OECD, Paris, 2000, p. 16.

  87. OECD, Trust in Government: Ethics measures in OECD countries, OECD, Paris, 2000, p. 19.

  88. The Code of Conduct is available at http://www.psmpc.gov.au/publications/conduct.htm

  89. http://www.psmpc.gov.au/publications/values.htm

  90. http://www.public-standards.gov.uk

  91. http://www.public-standards.gov.uk

  92. Media release, 19 July 2001, available at http://www.public-standards.gov.uk This site has more information on the Committee, including summaries of reports and government responses.

  93. http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/oe00001e.html
  94. Canadian Government media release, 16 June 1994, available athttp://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/oe01053e.html

  95. http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/oe01156e.html

  96. Howard R. Wilson, 'Ethics and Government: The Canadian Experience', Senate Occasional Lecture Series, 1999, available at http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/oe01156e.html

  97. http://www.cjc.qld.gov.au

  98. http://www.icac.nsw.gov.au

  99. Nicholas Greiner, (Member for Ku-ring-gai) Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Ethnic Affairs, Second Reading Speech for the Independent Commission Against Corruption Bill, New South Wales Legislative Assembly, 26 May 1988.

  100. http://www.psmpc.gov.au/publications/values.htm

  101. http://www.ocpa.gov.uk/

  102. http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/central/1999/openpa/

  103. See for example, Anne Davies on talk-back, 'A new force has the ear of the nation's leaders', Sydney Morning Herald, 24 March 2001, Senator Peter Cook on big business, 'Every taxpayer in this country knows that the Liberal Party works for the big end of town and not for the average Australian.' (Parliamentary Debates Senate, 23 August 2001), and Senator Ian Macdonald on trade unions, 'Labor MPs, senators and their trade union bosses' (Parliamentary Debates Senate, 30 August 2001).

  104. In October 2000 it was announced that the Federal Police were investigating the misuse of Peter Reith's government telecard and its bill of more than $50 000. Mr Reith subsequently repaid the $50 000. The level of anger expressed on talkback radio regarding Mr Reith's actions was said to be unprecedented. See Ellen Connolly, 'Phone bill sparks talkback venom', The Age, 20 October 2000.
  105. In 2001, the Senate Select Committee on Superannuation and Financial Services received submissions and petitions from almost 5 000 Australians, mostly complaining about the generosity of the parliamentarians' scheme. The correspondence comprised more than 2 500 submissions, 35 petitions with nearly 1 500 signatures, and nearly 700 e-mails and other items of correspondence. (Senate Select Committee on Superannuation and Financial Services, Report on the provisions of the Parliamentary (Choice of Superannuation) Bill 2001, August 2001, p. 1, available at http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/superfinan_ctte/index.htm)

  106. See the summary of conclusions and recommendations of the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee, Sixth Report: Public Participation: Issues and Innovations, Volume One, London, 26 March 2001, at http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200001/cmselect/cmpubadm/373/37304.htm

  107. For example, it has been argued that a shortfall in funding for public schools is encouraging links with McDonald's restaurants which may exacerbate rising rates of obesity in children. Another example is the encouragement of private car use over public transport, with resulting injuries from accidents and ill health from pollution. While these are not primarily Commonwealth policy areas, a significant proportion of the resulting higher health costs are borne by the Commonwealth.

  108. A less stable balance of power in the House of Representatives and/or the Senate may bring several advantages. However a possible disadvantage is that Members or Senators may be inappropriately influenced.

  109. See for example, the Commonwealth Auditor-General, The Use of Confidentiality Provisions in Commonwealth Contracts, Australian National Audit Office, Canberra, 2001.

  110. Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee, The Government's Information Technology Outsourcing Initiative (Interim Report) Accountability in a commercial environment-Emerging Issues, 5 April 2001, p. 21.

  111. These examples are taken from John Halligan, 'Contribution of the Australian Public Service to Public Administration and Management', paper presented to the 'Centenary of the Australian Public Service' conference, Rydges Hotel, Canberra, 19 June 2001.

  112. OECD, Governance in Transition: Public Management Reforms in OECD Countries, OECD, Paris, 1995, p. 19.

  113. R.A.W.Rhodes, quoted in Owen E. Hughes, Public Management and Administration: An Introduction (second edition), Macmillan, South Yarra, 1998, p. 2.

  114. Sandford Borins, 'The new public management is here to stay', Canadian Public Administration, Spring 1995.

  115. ibid.

  116. Donald J. Savoie, 'What is wrong with the new public management?", Canadian Public Administration, Spring 1995.

  117. Donald J. Savoie, 'What is wrong with the new public management?", Canadian Public Administration, Spring 1995 and Christopher Pollitt and Geert Bouckaert, Public management reform: A comparative analysis, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000, p. 60. It is interesting to note that the impetus for efficiency reforms came from within, as well as outside, the Commonwealth Public Service.

  118. Donald J. Savoie, 'What is wrong with the new public management?", Canadian Public Administration, Spring 1995.

  119. M. Shamsul Haque, 'Public service under challenge in the age of privatization', Governance, April 1996.

  120. Donald J. Savoie, 'What is wrong with the new public management?", Canadian Public Administration, Spring 1995.

  121. Donald J. Savoie, 'Just another voice from the pulpit', Canadian Public Administration, Spring 1995.

  122. Public Private Partnerships (also known as Private Finance Initiatives) involve the private sector building and operating infrastructure (e.g. a road) and then deriving revenue from it under an agreement with the relevant government. After an agreed period it is transferred to the government's ownership. This approach is common in the United Kingdom and is growing in popularity with Australian State/Territory governments, particularly Victoria. Because most infrastructure is owned and operated by State/Territory governments, it is more frequent at this level. However, the Commonwealth Department of Defence is exploring this option (see http://www.defence.gov.au/cfo/privfin/), and the 2001-02 Commonwealth Budget allocated funding to the Department of Finance and Administration to 'establish a private financing assessment unit to assist Commonwealth agencies to evaluate and advise the Government on any proposed private financing arrangements' (2001-02 Budget Paper No. 2).
  123. For more information on this subject, see Rose Verspaandonk, 'Accrual Budgeting-State of Play', Research Note no. 30, 1999-2000, available at http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rn/1999-2000/2000rn30.htm
  124. Department of Finance and Administration, Finance Circular 1999/02.http://www.dofa.gov.au/publications/FinanceCirculars/1999/fc199902.html

  125. B. Guy Peters, 'Policy transfers between governments: The case of administrative reforms', West European Politics, October 1997, p. 71. Note that Peters adopts a slightly broader definition of new public management, which includes reforms to enhance citizen participation (e.g. decentralisation). Note also that he believes that OECD data (which he uses) may over-estimate the adoption of reforms, both because of the Public Management unit's enthusiasm for managerialism and the desire of reporting countries to appear modern and innovative (p. 85).

  126. John Halligan, 'Comparing Public Service Reform in OECD Countries' in John Halligan (ed.), Public Service Reform, Centre for Research in Public Sector Management, University of Canberra, 1998, p. 155.

  127. John Halligan, 'Comparing Public Service Reform in OECD Countries' in John Halligan (ed.), Public Service Reform, Centre for Research in Public Sector Management, University of Canberra, 1998, p. 160.

  128. For discussion of particular countries' experiences with administrative reform, see the following:
    Giacinto Della Cananea, 'Reforming the state: The policy of administrative reform in Italy under the Ciampi Government', West European Politics, April 1996; Calliope Spanou, 'Penelope's suitors: Administrative modernisation and party competition in Greece', West European Politics, January 1996; Graham K. Wilson and Anthony Barker, 'The end of the Whitehall model?', West European Politics, October 1995; Pan Suk Kim, 'Administrative reform in the Korean central government: A case study of the Dae Jung Kim Administration', Public Performance and Management Review, December 2000; Christopher Pollitt and Geert Bouckaert, Public management reform: A comparative analysis, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000 (appendices).

  129. B. Guy Peters, 'Policy transfers between governments: The case of administrative reforms', West European Politics, October 1997, p. 79. Cheung's analysis of reforms also found decentralisation to be common (Anthony B.L. Cheung, 'Understanding public-sector reforms: global trends and diverse agendas', International Review of Administrative Sciences, December 1997.

  130. Christopher Pollitt and Hilkka Summa, 'Trajectories of reform: Public management change in four countries', Public Money & Management, January-March 1997.

  131. B. Guy Peters, 'Policy transfers between governments: The case of administrative reforms', West European Politics, October 1997, p. 81.

  132. Jan-Erik Lane, 'Reform in the Nordic countries' in Jan-Erik Lane (ed.), Public sector reform: Rationale, trends and problems, Sage, London, 1997.

  133. Carles Boix, 'Searching for competitiveness: the role of the Spanish public sector in the 1980s and 1990s', in Jan-Erik Lane (ed.), Public sector reform: Rationale, trends and problems, Sage, London, 1997.

  134. B. Guy Peters, 'Policy transfers between governments: The case of administrative reforms', West European Politics, October 1997, pp. 85-6.

  135. See Christopher Pollitt and Geert Bouckaert, Public management reform: A comparative analysis, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000, pp. 52-4. It should also be remembered that Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom had greater scope for privatisation because of the relatively large number of public utilities.

  136. Shaun Goldfinch, 'Reforming the public sector in New Zealand: A sceptical analysis', Canberra Bulletin of Public Administration, August 1998.

  137. Owen E. Hughes, New public management: A parliamentary perspective, Working Paper 27/00, Department of Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University, April 2000, p. 2.

  138. Shaun Goldfinch, 'Reforming the public sector in New Zealand: A sceptical analysis', Canberra Bulletin of Public Administration, August 1998.

 

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