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Delegated Governance and the British State

Matthew Flinders

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199271603
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191709241 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199271603.001.0001
Delegated Governance and the British State

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The delegation of functions and responsibilities to quasi-autonomous bodies operating with a significant degree of autonomy arguably empowers governments to address a wide range of social issues simultaneously without having to be involved with the minutiae of day-to-day socio-political interactions. Delegation therefore provides a structural and esoteric capacity beyond the cognitive and physical limits of politicians. There is nothing wrong with delegation as such. The problem relates to the failure to manage delegation in Britain. And yet we actually know very little about how the state beyond the core actually operates, how many bodies exist, what they do, how they are recruited, or why they were created. These gaps in our knowledge are all the more problematic in light of recent pronouncements by politicians at the national and European levels that ‘depoliticization’ is a central strand of their approach to governing. This book seeks to fill these gaps in our knowledge while at the same time cultivating a more balanced or sophisticated approach to the study of delegation. Delegated public bodies as they have been used as a tool of governance in the past should not be confused with how they might be used in the future. This book draws upon research conducted within the very core of the British political system during a Whitehall Fellowship within the Cabinet Office. It argues that the British state is ‘walking without order’ due to a general acceptance of the logic of delegation without any detailed or principled consideration of the administrative of democratic consequences of this process.

Keywords: delegation; depoliticization; democracy; accountability; patronage; governing; state capacity; autonomy; quangos; devolution

Book.  384 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: UK Politics

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Table of Contents

Walking Without Order in Delegated Governance and the British State

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Theory in Delegated Governance and the British State

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History in Delegated Governance and the British State

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Structure in Delegated Governance and the British State

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Internal Control in Delegated Governance and the British State

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External Accountability in Delegated Governance and the British State

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Patronage in Delegated Governance and the British State

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Depoliticization in Delegated Governance and the British State

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Above and below in Delegated Governance and the British State

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The Politics, Principles, and Politicization of Delegation in Delegated Governance and the British State

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