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Appointed State

Quasi-governmental Organizations and Democracy. Public Policy & Management

By (author) Chris Skelcher
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Open University Press, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Published: 1st Jul 1998
Dimensions: w 152mm h 229mm d 19mm
Weight: 380g
ISBN-10: 0335198813
ISBN-13: 9780335198818
Barcode No: 9780335198818
This is the first comprehensive study of a fundamental change in the governance of Britain - the transfer of power from democratically accountable central and local government to the closed world of quangos. These quasi-governmental bodies - for example health authorities, colleges, training and enterprise councils, housing action trusts and the Low Pay Commission - have boards whose members are appointed rather than elected. Yet the 70,000 appointed men and women are responsible for delivering major public services and spending substantial amounts of public money. This book illustrates how policy and financial decisions are taken behind closed doors and lack accountability to citizens through the democratic process. It draws on UK and US experience to show how patronage in the appointment of board members enables the government of the day to extend its influence. It includes a detailed analysis of proposals for their reform, including those from the Nolan Committee on Standards in Public Life. Chris Skelcher argues that the problem of quasi-government requires a fundamental reassessment of the British political and governmental system.

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"The treatment is so satisfyingly competent and complete as to risk one repeating the well-known error of the academic reviewer who declared that the book in question "fills a much-needed gap in the literature". In this case, however, it is plainly the book which is much-needed and the notorious gap on quangos is no more." - Local Government Studies