The Politics of Local Government Reform in Northern Ireland

Colin Knox

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    12 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    A major review of public administration in Northern Ireland has resultedin proposals for radical reforms in health, education and local government services.Although originating from the devolved government of 1999, intermittent suspensionsresulted in Direct Rule Ministers taking over responsibility for the review. This articletraces the influence of a sizeable body of research evidence on the outcomes of thereview, specifically controversial reforms to local government, and the significantinfluence attached to macro political factors in reaching key public policy decisions. Italso highlights the asymmetry in power relations between Stormont and localgovernment and how devolution has simply compounded regional centralism inNorthern Ireland.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages435-455
    JournalLocal Government Studies
    Volume35
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009

    Fingerprint

    government reform
    local government
    politics
    public administration
    devolution
    health education
    power relations
    centralism
    asymmetry
    reform
    political factors
    minister
    decentralization
    Ireland
    public policy
    responsibility
    health
    evidence
    education
    decision

    Keywords

    • Review of Public Administration
    • Northern Ireland
    • local government
    • evidence based policy making
    • central–local relations

    Cite this

    Knox, Colin. / The Politics of Local Government Reform in Northern Ireland. In: Local Government Studies. 2009 ; Vol. 35, No. 4. pp. 435-455.
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    title = "The Politics of Local Government Reform in Northern Ireland",
    abstract = "A major review of public administration in Northern Ireland has resultedin proposals for radical reforms in health, education and local government services.Although originating from the devolved government of 1999, intermittent suspensionsresulted in Direct Rule Ministers taking over responsibility for the review. This articletraces the influence of a sizeable body of research evidence on the outcomes of thereview, specifically controversial reforms to local government, and the significantinfluence attached to macro political factors in reaching key public policy decisions. Italso highlights the asymmetry in power relations between Stormont and localgovernment and how devolution has simply compounded regional centralism inNorthern Ireland.",
    keywords = "Review of Public Administration, Northern Ireland, local government, evidence based policy making, central–local relations",
    author = "Colin Knox",
    note = "Reference text: Bacon, R. (2006) A PAC Member’s perspective on service delivery and accountability. Speech to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance in Northern Ireland, 23 March. Bell, W. (2005) Anger over civil service review, Belfast Telegraph, 21 October. Bennett, M., Fairley, J. & McAteer, M. (2002) Devolution in Scotland: The Impact on Local Government (York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York Publishing Services). Birrell, D. (2007) The role of local government in the review of public administration in Northern Ireland: the challenges of enhancement, devolution and modernization, Local Government Studies, 33(5), pp.657–676. Birrell, D. &Murie, A. (1980) Policy and Government in Northern Ireland: Lessons of Devolution (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan). Burton, P. (2006) Modernising the policy process: making policy research more significant?, Policy Studies, 27(3), pp.173–195. Cabinet Office (1999a) Modernising Government. White Paper. Cm 4310 (London: HMSO). Cabinet Office (1999b) Professional Policy Making for the 21st Century. A report by the Strategic Policy Making Team (London: HMSO). Cabinet Office (2000) Adding it Up: Improving Analysis and Modelling in Central Government. A Performance and Innovation Unit Report (London: HMSO). Cabinet Office (2001) Better Policy Making (London: Cabinet Office, Centre for Management and Policy Studies). Campbell, S., Benita, S., Coates, E., Davies, P. & Penn, G. (2007) Analysis for Policy: Evidence based Policy and Practice (London: HM Treasury, Government Social Research Unit). Carmichael, P. (2002a) British governance in transition: a case study of the Northern Ireland civil service, International Journal of Public Administration, 25(8), pp.975–1005. Carmichael, P. (2002b) The Northern Ireland civil service: characteristics and trends since 1970, Public Administration, 80(1), pp.23–49. Davies, P. (2004) Is evidence-based government possible? Jerry Lee Lecture – paper presented at Campbell Collaboration Colloquium, Washington, DC. Department of Finance and Personnel (2006) Northern Ireland Priorities and Budget 2006–08 (Belfast: DFP). Durkan, M. (2003) Durkan takes a swipe at civil servants, Belfast Telegraph, 31 October, p.1. Grayson, L. (2006) Revitalising analysis for policy, Evidence and Policy, 2(3), pp.397–399. Hain, P. (2005) Statement by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the outcome of the Review of Public Administration, 22 November (Belfast: Northern Ireland Office). Hain, P. (2007) Northern Ireland. Statement to the House of Commons, 9 May. Hansard (2006) The Review of Public Administration. Northern Ireland Transitional Assembly debate, 5 December. Hanson, D. (2007) The Review of Public Administration: the minister replies, Fortnight Magazine, 450, pp.10–11. Hope, T. (2006) Things can only get better, Criminal Justice Matters, 62(39), pp.4–5. Laffin, M. (2004) Is regional centralism inevitable? The case of the Welsh Assembly, Regional Studies, 38(2), pp.213–223. Laffin, M. (2007) Comparative British central–local relations: regional centralism, governance and intergovernmental relations, Public Policy and Administration, 22(1), pp.74–91. Laffin, M., Taylor, G. & Thomas, A. (2002) A New Partnership? The National Assembly for Wales and Local Government (York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York Publishing Services). Leigh, E. (2006) Northern Ireland, Hansard, pp.243–277, Public Accounts Committee, 18 July. Lloyd, C. (2005) Identification of New Administrative Zones using Districts as a Base (Belfast: The Queen’s University). McAteer, M. & Bennett, M. (2005) Devolution and local government: evidence from Scotland, Local Government Studies, 31(3), pp.285–306. McCluskey, W., Lim, J. & Davis, P. (2004) Review of Public Administration in Northern Ireland: Main Research Findings. Report No. 3 (Belfast: OFMDFM). McConnell, A. (2006) Central local government in Scotland, International Review of Administrative Sciences, 72(1), pp.73–84. Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Library Services (2001) Freedom of Information – Research Paper 10/01 (Stormont: Northern Ireland Assembly). Northern Ireland Executive (2002) Draft Programme for Government (Belfast: Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister). Northern Ireland Local Government Association (2005a) Demolishing democracy for efficiency – NILGA slams RPA announcement, NILGA Press Release, 22 November. Northern Ireland Local Government Association (2005b) NILGA’s response to the RPA Further Consultation Paper (Belfast: NILGA). Nutley, S., Walter, I. & Davies, H. (2003) From knowing to doing: a framework for understanding the evidence-into-practice agenda, Evaluation, 9(2), pp.125–148. Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (2002) Review of the Northern Ireland Civil Service Response to Devolution (Belfast: OFMDFM). Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (2003) A Practical Guide to Policy Making in Northern Ireland (Belfast: OFMDFM). Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (2004) ‘Fit for Purpose’ The Reform Agenda in the Northern Ireland Civil Service (Belfast: OFMDFM). Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (2005) A Shared Future: Policy and Strategic Framework for Good Relations in Northern Ireland (Belfast: OFMDFM). Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (2006) Better Government for Northern Ireland: Final Decisions of the Review of Public Administration (Belfast: OFMDFM). Osborne, R. (2007) ‘Evidence’ and equality in Northern Ireland, Evidence and Policy, 3(1), pp.79–97. Paisley, I. (2005) Reaction to local government shake-up, BBC News report, 22 November. Parry, R. (2003) The Scottish Executive and the challenges of complex policy-making, The Political Quarterly, 74(4), pp.450–458. Parsons, W. (2002) From muddling through to muddling up: evidence based policy making and the modernisation of British Government, Public Policy and Administration, 17(3), pp.43–60. Pearson, I. (2005) The Review of Public Administration in Northern Ireland: Further Consultation (Belfast: RPA). Review of Public Administration (2002) Terms of reference and parameters for the review. Available at: http://www.rpani.gov.uk/tor.htm (accessed 26 August 2008). Review of Public Administration (2005a) Further Consultation Document (Belfast: RPA). Review of Public Administration (2005b) Analysis of Responses to the ‘Further Consultation’ (Belfast: RPA). Rhodes, R. (1986) The National World of Local Government (London: Allen & Unwin). Rooker, J. (2005a) Outcome of the Review of Public Administration. Speech by Lord Rooker at the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, 22 November. Rooker, J. (2005b) Rooker heralds the return of strong local government, RPA Press Release, 22 November. Rooker, J. (2005c) Minister Rooker slams ‘bamy’ Ulster, Belfast Telegraph, 18 August. Rose, R. (1971) Governing without Consensus: An Irish Perspective (London: Faber). Simpson, J. (1997) Yes, Minister that would have to be my decision, Belfast Telegraph, 22 April, p.4. Trimble, D. (2002) Review of Public Administration, Hansard, pp.371–402, 25 February (Belfast: Northern Ireland Assembly). Weir, P. (2006a) Positive about reforms but on local government terms!!, Direct News, December 2005–January 2006, pp.20–21. Weir, P. (2006b) The Review of Public Administration, Hansard, Northern Ireland Transitional Assembly debate, 5 December. Whyte, J. (1983) How much discrimination was there under the Unionist regime 1921–68?, in: T. Gallagher & J. O’Connell (Eds) Contemporary Irish Studies, pp.1–35 (Manchester: Manchester University Press). Williams, N. (2002) Evidence and policy: towards a new politico-administrative settlement, Political Quarterly, 73(1), pp.86–102. Young, K., Ashby, D., Boaz, A. & Grayson, L. (2002) Social science and the evidence-based policy movement, Social Policy and Society, 1(3), pp.215–224.",
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    The Politics of Local Government Reform in Northern Ireland. / Knox, Colin.

    In: Local Government Studies, Vol. 35, No. 4, 08.2009, p. 435-455.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - The Politics of Local Government Reform in Northern Ireland

    AU - Knox, Colin

    N1 - Reference text: Bacon, R. (2006) A PAC Member’s perspective on service delivery and accountability. Speech to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance in Northern Ireland, 23 March. Bell, W. (2005) Anger over civil service review, Belfast Telegraph, 21 October. Bennett, M., Fairley, J. & McAteer, M. (2002) Devolution in Scotland: The Impact on Local Government (York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York Publishing Services). Birrell, D. (2007) The role of local government in the review of public administration in Northern Ireland: the challenges of enhancement, devolution and modernization, Local Government Studies, 33(5), pp.657–676. Birrell, D. &Murie, A. (1980) Policy and Government in Northern Ireland: Lessons of Devolution (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan). Burton, P. (2006) Modernising the policy process: making policy research more significant?, Policy Studies, 27(3), pp.173–195. Cabinet Office (1999a) Modernising Government. White Paper. Cm 4310 (London: HMSO). Cabinet Office (1999b) Professional Policy Making for the 21st Century. A report by the Strategic Policy Making Team (London: HMSO). Cabinet Office (2000) Adding it Up: Improving Analysis and Modelling in Central Government. A Performance and Innovation Unit Report (London: HMSO). Cabinet Office (2001) Better Policy Making (London: Cabinet Office, Centre for Management and Policy Studies). Campbell, S., Benita, S., Coates, E., Davies, P. & Penn, G. (2007) Analysis for Policy: Evidence based Policy and Practice (London: HM Treasury, Government Social Research Unit). Carmichael, P. (2002a) British governance in transition: a case study of the Northern Ireland civil service, International Journal of Public Administration, 25(8), pp.975–1005. Carmichael, P. (2002b) The Northern Ireland civil service: characteristics and trends since 1970, Public Administration, 80(1), pp.23–49. Davies, P. (2004) Is evidence-based government possible? Jerry Lee Lecture – paper presented at Campbell Collaboration Colloquium, Washington, DC. Department of Finance and Personnel (2006) Northern Ireland Priorities and Budget 2006–08 (Belfast: DFP). Durkan, M. (2003) Durkan takes a swipe at civil servants, Belfast Telegraph, 31 October, p.1. Grayson, L. (2006) Revitalising analysis for policy, Evidence and Policy, 2(3), pp.397–399. Hain, P. (2005) Statement by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the outcome of the Review of Public Administration, 22 November (Belfast: Northern Ireland Office). Hain, P. (2007) Northern Ireland. Statement to the House of Commons, 9 May. Hansard (2006) The Review of Public Administration. Northern Ireland Transitional Assembly debate, 5 December. Hanson, D. (2007) The Review of Public Administration: the minister replies, Fortnight Magazine, 450, pp.10–11. Hope, T. (2006) Things can only get better, Criminal Justice Matters, 62(39), pp.4–5. Laffin, M. (2004) Is regional centralism inevitable? The case of the Welsh Assembly, Regional Studies, 38(2), pp.213–223. Laffin, M. (2007) Comparative British central–local relations: regional centralism, governance and intergovernmental relations, Public Policy and Administration, 22(1), pp.74–91. Laffin, M., Taylor, G. & Thomas, A. (2002) A New Partnership? The National Assembly for Wales and Local Government (York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York Publishing Services). Leigh, E. (2006) Northern Ireland, Hansard, pp.243–277, Public Accounts Committee, 18 July. Lloyd, C. (2005) Identification of New Administrative Zones using Districts as a Base (Belfast: The Queen’s University). McAteer, M. & Bennett, M. (2005) Devolution and local government: evidence from Scotland, Local Government Studies, 31(3), pp.285–306. McCluskey, W., Lim, J. & Davis, P. (2004) Review of Public Administration in Northern Ireland: Main Research Findings. Report No. 3 (Belfast: OFMDFM). McConnell, A. (2006) Central local government in Scotland, International Review of Administrative Sciences, 72(1), pp.73–84. Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Library Services (2001) Freedom of Information – Research Paper 10/01 (Stormont: Northern Ireland Assembly). Northern Ireland Executive (2002) Draft Programme for Government (Belfast: Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister). Northern Ireland Local Government Association (2005a) Demolishing democracy for efficiency – NILGA slams RPA announcement, NILGA Press Release, 22 November. Northern Ireland Local Government Association (2005b) NILGA’s response to the RPA Further Consultation Paper (Belfast: NILGA). Nutley, S., Walter, I. & Davies, H. (2003) From knowing to doing: a framework for understanding the evidence-into-practice agenda, Evaluation, 9(2), pp.125–148. Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (2002) Review of the Northern Ireland Civil Service Response to Devolution (Belfast: OFMDFM). Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (2003) A Practical Guide to Policy Making in Northern Ireland (Belfast: OFMDFM). Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (2004) ‘Fit for Purpose’ The Reform Agenda in the Northern Ireland Civil Service (Belfast: OFMDFM). Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (2005) A Shared Future: Policy and Strategic Framework for Good Relations in Northern Ireland (Belfast: OFMDFM). Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (2006) Better Government for Northern Ireland: Final Decisions of the Review of Public Administration (Belfast: OFMDFM). Osborne, R. (2007) ‘Evidence’ and equality in Northern Ireland, Evidence and Policy, 3(1), pp.79–97. Paisley, I. (2005) Reaction to local government shake-up, BBC News report, 22 November. Parry, R. (2003) The Scottish Executive and the challenges of complex policy-making, The Political Quarterly, 74(4), pp.450–458. Parsons, W. (2002) From muddling through to muddling up: evidence based policy making and the modernisation of British Government, Public Policy and Administration, 17(3), pp.43–60. Pearson, I. (2005) The Review of Public Administration in Northern Ireland: Further Consultation (Belfast: RPA). Review of Public Administration (2002) Terms of reference and parameters for the review. Available at: http://www.rpani.gov.uk/tor.htm (accessed 26 August 2008). Review of Public Administration (2005a) Further Consultation Document (Belfast: RPA). Review of Public Administration (2005b) Analysis of Responses to the ‘Further Consultation’ (Belfast: RPA). Rhodes, R. (1986) The National World of Local Government (London: Allen & Unwin). Rooker, J. (2005a) Outcome of the Review of Public Administration. Speech by Lord Rooker at the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, 22 November. Rooker, J. (2005b) Rooker heralds the return of strong local government, RPA Press Release, 22 November. Rooker, J. (2005c) Minister Rooker slams ‘bamy’ Ulster, Belfast Telegraph, 18 August. Rose, R. (1971) Governing without Consensus: An Irish Perspective (London: Faber). Simpson, J. (1997) Yes, Minister that would have to be my decision, Belfast Telegraph, 22 April, p.4. Trimble, D. (2002) Review of Public Administration, Hansard, pp.371–402, 25 February (Belfast: Northern Ireland Assembly). Weir, P. (2006a) Positive about reforms but on local government terms!!, Direct News, December 2005–January 2006, pp.20–21. Weir, P. (2006b) The Review of Public Administration, Hansard, Northern Ireland Transitional Assembly debate, 5 December. Whyte, J. (1983) How much discrimination was there under the Unionist regime 1921–68?, in: T. Gallagher & J. O’Connell (Eds) Contemporary Irish Studies, pp.1–35 (Manchester: Manchester University Press). Williams, N. (2002) Evidence and policy: towards a new politico-administrative settlement, Political Quarterly, 73(1), pp.86–102. Young, K., Ashby, D., Boaz, A. & Grayson, L. (2002) Social science and the evidence-based policy movement, Social Policy and Society, 1(3), pp.215–224.

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    AB - A major review of public administration in Northern Ireland has resultedin proposals for radical reforms in health, education and local government services.Although originating from the devolved government of 1999, intermittent suspensionsresulted in Direct Rule Ministers taking over responsibility for the review. This articletraces the influence of a sizeable body of research evidence on the outcomes of thereview, specifically controversial reforms to local government, and the significantinfluence attached to macro political factors in reaching key public policy decisions. Italso highlights the asymmetry in power relations between Stormont and localgovernment and how devolution has simply compounded regional centralism inNorthern Ireland.

    KW - Review of Public Administration

    KW - Northern Ireland

    KW - local government

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    ER -