The General Background

Christopher Hood and Ruth Dixon

in A Government that Worked Better and Cost Less?

Published in print April 2015 | ISBN: 9780199687022
Published online May 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191766930 | DOI:
The General Background

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This background chapter lays out what happened to some of the major features of UK central government over thirty years—for example in features such as the size of the cabinet, the number of government agencies and ‘quangos’, the size and shape of the civil service, and the overall pattern of public spending. The chapter explores what changed and what remained relatively constant under four broad headings, namely, the basic legislative, electoral, and constitutional features of the UK as a state; the place of the bureaucracy in the political system and related public service bargains; the place of government in the economy and wider society; and the technology (particularly information technology) of government. Under most of those headings, there were continuities as well as changes, and it is necessary to identify both to put efforts to cut cost and maintain or improve the quality of administration into perspective.

Keywords: government; bureaucracy; public service bargains; information technology; civil service; public spending

Chapter.  8870 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: UK Politics ; Comparative Politics

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