A Government That Worked Better and Cost Less?: Evaluating Three Decades of Reform and Change in UK Central Government

ISBN : 9780199687022

Christopher Hood; Ruth Dixon
256 ページ
157 x 238 mm

The UK is said to have been one of the most prolific reformers of its public administration. Successive reforms have been accompanied by claims that the changes would make the world a better place by transforming the way government worked. Despite much discussion and debate over government makeovers and reforms, however, there has been remarkably little systematic evaluation of what happened to cost and performance in UK government during the last thirty years. A Government that Worked Better and Cost Less? aims to address that gap, offering a unique evaluation of UK government modernization programmes from 1980 to the present day. The book provides a distinctive framework for evaluating long-term performance in government, bringing together the 'working better' and 'costing less' dimensions, and presents detailed primary evidence within that framework. This book explores the implications of their findings for widely held ideas about public management, the questions they present, and their policy implications for a period in which pressures to make government 'work better and cost less' are unlikely to go away.


1. Yesterday's Tomorrows Revisited - the Route to Better and Cheaper Public Services
2. The General Background: What Changed and What Didn't in the UK Central Governance Landscape
3. Performance Data Breaks: Breaking the Mould and Burying the Evidence
4. Did Government Cost Less? Running Costs and Paybill
5. Collecting Taxes: Central and Local Government Taxation Compared
6. Consistency and Fairness in Administration: Formal Complaints and Legal Challenges
7. Comparative Perspectives on Performance
8. Government Processes: More Focused and Business-like or Heading into Chaos?
9. Not What it Said on the Tin: Assessing Three Decades of Change
Select Bibliography
Official Sources Bibliography
Appendix 1. Anonymised List of Interviewees and Focus Group Members
Appendix 2. Index of Volatility: Classification of Discontinuities for Chapter Three
Appendix 3. Dealing with Discontinuities: Methodology for Chapter Four
Appendix 4. Analysis of Legislative Amendments: Methodology for Chapter Eight


Christopher Hood, is a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and was the Gladstone Professor of Government from 2001 to 2014, and Director of the ESRC Public Services research programme from 2004 to 2010. With Andrew Dunsire, he pioneered the development of 'bureaumetrics' from the late 1970s and was a leading commentator on the emergence of 'New Public Management' in the 1990s. ; Dr Ruth Dixon, who comes from a natural science background, has worked at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford since 2006, playing a key role in the ESRC Public Services Research Programme before becoming a Research Fellow working on this project since 2010.