The Steering Group as Policy Advice Instrument: A Case of â€œConsultocracyâ€\x9D in Stadium Subsidy Deliberations
This study considers the use of steering groups and private consultants as sources of policy advice to local governments. More particularly, our research addresses the combined role of a government-appointed working party and consulting firm in the deliberation process precipitating from proposals to renovate/re-build a sports stadium. Through this New Zealand-based case, we explore the political tensions arising from the Working Party's mandates to consult and its role as vehicle to market policy solutions. Data is gleaned from interviews with working party members (and their consultants), observations of public consultations and analysis of documents (e.g., background papers, reports, and press releases). Implications of this institutional arrangement are discussed in light of recurring logics, tensions and paradoxes. We first consider the Carisbrook Working Party as an instrument of policy advice and distinguish its founding logic from other forms such as task forces or commissions of inquiry. We further discuss the paradoxes of the Working Party's procedural and political imperatives including its roles as facilitators of the process, advocates of the â€œproblem,â€\x9Dand as authoritative proclaimers of certainty. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006
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