This second volume of The Official History of the British Civil Service explores the radical restructuring of the Civil Service that took place during the Thatcher and Major premierships from 1982 until 1997, after a period of confusion and disagreement about its future direction.
The book brings a much-needed historical perspective to the development of the 'new public management', in which the UK was a world-leader, and considers difficult questions about the quality of democratic governance in Britain and the constitutional position of its Civil Service. Based on extensive research using government papers and interviews with leading participants, it concentrates on attempts to reform the Civil Service from the centre. In doing so, it has important lessons to offer all those, both inside and outside the UK, seeking to improve the quality, efficiency and accountability of democratic governance.
Particular light is shed on the origins of such current concerns as:
The role of special advisers
The need for a Prime Minister's Department
The search for cost efficiency
Accountability to Parliament and its Select Committees
Civil Service policy-making capacity and implementation capability.
This book will be of much interest to students of British history, government and politics, and public administration.
The Official History of the British Civil Service: Reforming the Civil Service, Volume II: The Thatcher and Major Revolutions, 1982-97