Beyond the state? Third party government in comparative perspective.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: INLOGOV

Abstract

The original contributions of this seminar series are (a) to open up informed debate on a major development in the governance and management of UK (and especially English) public policy, namely third party government, and (b) to do so in comparative perspective.Third party government (Salamon 1981) refers to the relocation of public policy formulation and implementation at arm’s length to the institutions of representative democracy.  It comprises a variety of institutional forms in which the state acts through intermediary organisations such as quangos, not-for-profits, public corporations, independent regulatory agencies, businesses, and citizen-centred bodies to deliver public purpose. 
 
The study of third party government opens up questions of democracy, delegation of authority, transparency, and autonomy in the contemporary state.The seminars will draw together a multidisciplinary and international group of academics, together with government and civil society organisations, in a comparative theoretical, methodological, conceptual and empirical analysis of the field, closing with a specifically normative focus on institutional design possibilities for governments and other actors.
 
The aim of the seminar series is to build a new international and multi-disciplinary research and policy/practice community that will take forward the critical generation and evaluation of knowledge about the contribution of third party government to addressing societal challenges.

Publications


10 25 50
Smith S (2014) Hybridity and Nonprofit Organizations in American Behavioral Scientist
 
Description The idea of governing 'beyond the state' may conjure the loaded language of privatisation and the outsourcing of public services, but this is not the only perspective. There are many ways in which the design and delivery of public policies by business, community and nonprofit organizations can occur.

Contracting out of public services is now the norm globally, yet it can have undesirable social and political consequences - especially for marginalised communities. However other forms of third party government drawing on expertise from community organising and co-production can potentially deepen democratic engagement and administrative responsiveness.

While the central state is likely to remain the core institution for defining and accomplishing public purposes, evidence from the US and the Netherlands shows that there is much to be learnt from alternative traditions of self-organisation, power-sharing and separate but mutually respectful political institutions. But nongovernmental organizations are not independent of the state. Research from the US revealed that public rather than charitable funding is most important in sustaining a high level of nonprofit activity.
Exploitation Route The findings of the seminars are being utilised through related AHRC action-research projects and in policy advice projects undertaken with local authorities and third sector organisations.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Government, Democracy and Justice
 
Description Our findings have contributed to discussions of policy and the development of administrative practice in the relationship between government departments, civil society organisations and semi-independent agencies. This has been achieved through invited presentations/participation at workshops/conferences organised by Communities and Local Government and other agencies.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Policy & public services
 
Description AHRC Re-defining local public services: towards transformative co-production
Amount £45,000 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 11/2012 
End 04/2013
 
Description AHRC Re-defining local public services: towards transformative co-production
Amount £45,000 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 11/2012 
End 04/2013
 
Description Shrinking the State: Analysing the Reform of Arm's Length Bodies in Comparative Perspective
Amount £800,000 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/J01553/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 05/2012 
End 11/2015
 
Description Shrinking the State: Analysing the Reform of Arm's Length Bodies in Comparative Perspective
Amount £800,000 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/J01553/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 05/2012 
End 11/2015
 
Description Who is accountable in localism? Community governance in a context of decentralisation
Amount £45,000 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 11/2012 
End 04/2013
 
Description Who is accountable in localism? Community governance in a context of decentralisation
Amount £45,000 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 11/2012 
End 04/2013
 
Description Delivering local public services - learning from international and UK experiences 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/Parliamentarians
Results and Impact This event for officials in the UK Government's Department of Communities and Local Government was organised in cooperation with CLG's Research Manager. Its purpose was to disseminate knowledge from the ESRC seminar series to policy officials, enabling participants to explore a range of approaches to local public service delivery, financing and governance, and to bring new ideas to the debate about ways in which policy ideas can be turned into practice. It was led by specialists in US, continental European and UK local public service organisation and governance: The event included presentations/discussion of: Strategic Commissioning and Co-production of Local Public Services; Lessons from Contemporary Issues in US City and Local Government; and International Experiences in Front-Line Public Services.

The event included presentations/discussion of: Strategic Commissioning and Co-production of Local Public Services; Lessons from Contemporary Issues in US City and Local Government; and International Experiences in Front-Line Public Services.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Department for Communities and Local Government Enquiry Week 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/Parliamentarians
Results and Impact A presentation to civil servants on 'How to build civic engagement at a neighbourhood level' as part of CLG's annual Enquiry Week where researchers and others are invited to share insights from their work with policy makers. This presentation was in part informed by conversations about the role of intermediaries in the delivery of public services and governance during the seminar series.

This presentation was in part informed by conversations about the role of intermediaries in the delivery of public services and governance during the seminar series.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012