In the past 25 years, governments have made frequent attempts to engage in administrative reform. Yet little of substance appears to have emerged form these interventions. This book explains why it is that public sector reform seems so often to fail. It charts the history of two reform programmes which, in the past decade, have been central to the British and Australian governments' drive to introduce a more managerially-oriented administration. Whitehall's reform was the Financial Management Initiative and its successor, "The Next Steps". Canberra's innovation was the Financial Mangement Improvement Programme. The author compares the two experiences of management reform in order to identify the central factors that promote and retard administrative innovation. Having observed and participated in the implementation of both reform programmes, he has produced a lively, intuitive and political account of the dynamics of change. Dr Zifcak concludes that administrative reform cannot be regarded in isolation.
Rather, it is one aspect of a much broader process of change which involves a complex interaction between economic conditions, social ideology, political power, administrative fashion, the capabilities of the administration and the content of the reforms themselves.