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Cuts and reforms — Public services as we move into a new era

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  • Christopher Pollitt

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    (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Public Management Institute, Leuven, Belgium)

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    Abstract

    Most countries now share the prospect of an extended period of public fiscal austerity. Yet at the same time the demands for improved public services continues. This paper reviews the relationship between expenditure restraint and reform. It describes three broad strategies for achieving savings, noting that each has a different mixture of advantages and disadvantages. It then identifies four significant considerations that public service leaders will need to bear in mind as they decide their programs: timing, ethics, communications and legitimacy. The paper concludes with the observation that simultaneously tackling the needs for austerity and reform will call for extraordinary levels of public service leadership.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary in its journal Society and Economy.

    Volume (Year): 32 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (June)
    Pages: 17-31

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    Handle: RePEc:aka:soceco:v:32:y:2010:i:1:p:17-31

    Note: The preparation of an earlier version of this paper benefited from the wise thoughts of several colleagues, including Carolyn Ban (Pittsburgh), Geert Bouckaert (Leuven), Gavin Drewry (Royal Holloway), Steve Harrison (Manchester), Christopher Hood (Oxford), Walter Kickert (Rotterdam), Frans van Nispen (Rotterdam), Isabella Proeller (Potsdam) and Colin Talbot (Manchester). None of them are responsible for what I made of their generous advice. Thanks also go to Statskontoret, the Swedish agency for public management, who originally invited me to prepare a version of this paper for the Swedish EU Presidency meeting of the EU Public Administration Network (EUPAN) in Stockholm, December 2009.
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    Postal: Akadémiai Kiadó Zrt., Prielle K. u. 21-35. Budapest, 1117, Hungary
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    Related research

    Keywords: cutbacks; expenditure; strategy; legitimacy; leadership;

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