Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future: COCOPS Project Background Paper
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This first COCOPS Working Paper outlines the background to the COCOPS project. It introduces the concept of New Public Management (NPM) both as a set of managerial innovations in the public sector and as a set of new ideas about the role of government. The Paper presents an overview of the state of the art of evaluating the impact of NPM and we argue that there are a number of major gaps in current studies on the impact of NPM reforms. These include limited coverage of European countries and an overall lack of cross-national research, a limited empirical base in many assessments of NPM, and a tendency to focus on specific elements of NPM-style reforms or specific policy sectors rather than on public sector reforms in general. Furthermore, we identify two unintended effects of NPM-style reforms that severely impact the public sector of the future’s ability to build and sustain social cohesion. One is the fragmentation of the public sector; the other consists of effects of the reforms on equity. Innovative practices have to provide an answer to these two challenges. We end this working paper by collating the first tentative empirical evidence of emerging models for the governance of public services beyond NPM, including outcome-based approaches and whole-of-government models, and reflect on the implications of the financial crisis for these developments.
- npm-style reforms