In Westminster systems, senior public servants have traditionally avoided overtly political roles. Some critics have alleged that recent public sector reforms have undermined that tradition of impartiality. In the current issue of Governance,Dennis Grube and Cosmo Howard conclude that fears about the collapse of traditional norms are overstated. Drawing on cases from Canada and Australia, Grube and Howard conclude that “There remains a strong ethical awareness among senior public servants about how far they can legitimately allow themselves to be pushed under a Westminster system.” Read the article. The article is part of a special issue on the future of the Westminster model.
The Westminster model of governance created a “symbiotic partnership” between the ministers responsible for government departments and the career civil servants who ran them, David Richards and Martin J. Smith argue in the current issue ofGovernance. But the advent of New Public Management changed that, introducing new pathologies into British government. “The most crucial pathology,” they say, “is that the deliberative space afforded for critical engagement over public policy has been diminished.” The result? A government that is more vulnerable to serious blunders. Read the article. The article is part of a special issue on the future of the Westminster model.
“In democracies around the world,” Milan Vaishnav writes in the current issue of Governance, “candidates who stand accused or convicted of criminal conduct routinely win elections.” In his commentary, Vaishnav explains why. He challenges the conventional wisdom that voters are just uninformed. Looking at experience in India, Vaishnav suggests that under some circumstances, “politicians can use their criminality to signal their credibility when it comes to protecting the interest of voters in their constituencies.” Free access to the commentary.
The Structure and Organization of Government section of the International Political Science Association, together with the Quality of Government Institute at the University of Gothenburg, invite you to submit a paper for a workshop on Public Management and Institutional Quality. The workshop will be held on June 7-8, 2017. More details about the call for papers here.