Authors: Steven Kelman
January 1, 2006
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School
During the past several years the most aggressive effort in the history of government has been made in the United Kingdom to use an innovative public management tool - the use of performance metrics and performance goals in the management of public sector organizations - both to improve the performance of public-sector organizations and also to recast some of the terms of democratic deliberation in the UK. As a pioneer in this innovation, the UK example may provide lessons for other governments as they seek to further implement this innovation. Professor Kelman's research, largely focusing on interviews with managers within UK government, seeks to discover how United Kingdom central government institutions have gone about trying to influence the performance of frontline organizations that must actually meet these targets. A special emphasis is on change and intra-governmental learning over time, as well as an exploration of evolving relationships between the central government (especially the newly established Prime Minister's Delivery Unit) and individual departments. This paper was produced as the result of a research competition open to faculty of the John F. Kennedy School of Government sponsored by the Ash Institute of Democratic Governance and Innovation.
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