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Article
Publication date: 12 October 2012

Michael Johnson

Recent changes in the UK political landscape have brought about cuts in public sector spending. Local authorities, in common with other public sector agencies, are…

Abstract

Purpose

Recent changes in the UK political landscape have brought about cuts in public sector spending. Local authorities, in common with other public sector agencies, are required to make significant cost savings over the coming years. Procurement is an area of public sector administration characterised by considerable costs and inefficiency where the adoption of innovative technologies, such as e‐markets, can be deployed to effect significant costs savings. However, there are many barriers to the adoption of such technologies. The purpose of this paper is to explore and expound the factors that impede local authorities from adopting e‐markets and to present a learning opportunity for procurement managers and other stakeholders involved in technology adoption in local government and the wider public sector.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study based on in depth interviews with 17 senior level executives in e‐markets and local authorities on barriers to e‐market adoption in the local government sector is presented. The interviews were transcribed and subsequently coded and analysed using the qualitative data analysis software QSR N6.

Findings

A number of factors (risk perception, knowledge deficits, trust, firm size, and organisational readiness) pertaining to Johnson's framework of e‐market adoption barriers were found to affect e‐market adoption and use in the local government sector. Importantly, the study also found factors that are idiosyncratic to the sector that impinged on e‐market adoption.

Research limitations/implications

The scope of the study is limited to examining such barriers from a buy‐side local authority perspective, the findings of which may have implications for the adoption of e‐markets and other e‐procurement technologies in the wider public sector and beyond. The paper also makes a contribution to the literature on e‐market adoption by adding to the body of knowledge relating to institutional theory.

Practical implications

The case study can help local authority and other public sector procurement managers, academic researchers, practitioners, consultants and other professionals involved in technology adoption better understand, and find practical ways to offset, the barriers that impinge on the adoption of e‐markets and other innovative technologies that can reduce costs within public sector organisations.

Originality/value

E‐market adoption has the potential to realise a number of significant cost saving benefits within and between organisations. However, such benefits cannot be realised if there are barriers to their adoption and full utilisation. To date, research on the dynamics of e‐market adoption has largely focused on private sector enterprises with few studies examining this phenomenon in public sector environments. Therefore, e‐market adoption in the public sector has received limited attention in the literature over the past decade. This study examines, and provides empirical evidence of, barriers to e‐market uptake and usage in the local government sector in order to act as a starting point to creating better understanding of such barriers among academic and practitioner audiences.

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Book part
Publication date: 19 May 2010

Stuart Tooley, Jill Hooks and Norida Basnan

Purpose – This chapter aims to identify stakeholder perceptions on the service performance accountability of Malaysian local authorities.Design/methodology/approach – A…

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter aims to identify stakeholder perceptions on the service performance accountability of Malaysian local authorities.

Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire survey provides the primary source of information, and both descriptive and analytical methods are employed to support the analysis of the empirical findings.

Findings – The chapter shows that despite a strong interest amongst stakeholders for greater accountability of Malaysian local authorities, a standard definition and scope of accountability has not emerged. However, the findings do indicate a new bond of accountability emerging between local authorities and its broader public than previously existed.

Research limitations – The findings and discussion are limited to the propositions put forward in the questionnaire. Alternative research methods would complement the findings.

Originality/value – The findings contribute to our understanding of accountability as interpreted by key stakeholders of local authorities located within the context of a developing country. This could potentially assist Malaysian public sector administrators whereby, and arguably, enhancing the public accountability of local authorities may contribute to an improvement in the performance management of Malaysian local authorities.

Details

Ethics, Equity, and Regulation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-729-5

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1999

Tony Bovaird and Paul Davis

This article sets out the main conclusions of a research project into how UK local authorities are managing within limited resources (MLR). Frameworks are developed to aid…

Abstract

This article sets out the main conclusions of a research project into how UK local authorities are managing within limited resources (MLR). Frameworks are developed to aid authorities to plan their approaches to MLR and to situate what they have already done and what they plan to do within a wider portfolio of tactics and strategies. An evaluation is made of how well local government is learning its way through to getting “more from less” and of what local authority support agencies need to do to help authorities to accelerate their learning. Finally, the authors argue that existing learning systems like benchmarking and quality management, while developing rapidly in local government, need further, significant refinement if the costs and benefits of resource management strategies are to be systematically evaluated.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1996

Stephanie Snape and John Fenwick

During the last 15 years, local authorities in many OECD countries have been introducing competition for the provision of services, placing less emphasis on the direct…

Abstract

During the last 15 years, local authorities in many OECD countries have been introducing competition for the provision of services, placing less emphasis on the direct provision of services and more on the strategic planning of service provision. Often this has involved encouraging both private firms and voluntary organizations to become providers of local government services. Analyses the emergence of enabling in two European countries, Ireland and the UK, and argues that local authorities in both countries are reluctant enablers. With reference to the UK, examines the implications of the CCT legislation, the key factor in the development of enabling and compares this to the emergence in Ireland of a trend towards contracting out.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2009

Suzana Grubnic and Margaret Woods

The purpose of this paper is to consider hierarchical control as a mode of governance, and analyses the extent of control exhibited by central government over local…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider hierarchical control as a mode of governance, and analyses the extent of control exhibited by central government over local government through the best value (BV) and comprehensive performance assessment (CPA) performance regimes.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper utilises Ouchi's framework and, specifically, his articulation of bureaucratic or hierarchical control in the move towards achievement of organisational objectives. Hierarchical control may be inferred from the extent of “command and control” by Central Government, use of rewards and sanctions, and alignment to government priorities and discrimination of performance.

Findings

CPA represents a more sophisticated performance regime than BV in the governance of local authorities by central government. In comparison to BV, CPA involved less scope for dialogue with local government prior to introduction, closer inspection of and direction of support toward poorer performing authorities, and more alignment to government priorities in the weightings attached to service blocks.

Originality/value

The paper focuses upon the hierarchic/bureaucratic mode of governance as articulated by Ouchi and expands on this mode in order to analyse shifts in performance regimes in the public sector.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 22 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2017

John Topinka

The purpose of this research is to examine fiscal health of a specific local enterprise operation: seaports. Seaports provide unique local services while spending and…

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to examine fiscal health of a specific local enterprise operation: seaports. Seaports provide unique local services while spending and borrowing billions of dollars. Decision makers should be aware of the fiscal health of these enterprises in part to assess the potential risks to the fiscal health of the government at large or public authority. Using eight stock and flow fiscal indicators appropriate for enterprise activities, this research examines eight seaports to compare fiscal health by geographic location and governing structure as well as the connection between long-term and short-term fiscal measures. Descriptive measures suggest that western and public authority ports exhibit better fiscal health than southern and departmental ports with some evidence showing a modest link between long-term and short-term fiscal health.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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Book part
Publication date: 11 November 2020

Graham Hassall

Abstract

Details

Government and Public Policy in the Pacific Islands
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-616-8

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2008

Zorlu Senyucel

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of understanding the mutually constitutive relationships between the provider (suppliers of information…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of understanding the mutually constitutive relationships between the provider (suppliers of information communication technologies (ICTs)) and user (service departments of ICTs) groups in UK local authorities in order to see the changing work patterns of public sector employees during the modernization process.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews the literature on the use of the ICTs in local authorities, as well as related literature on user‐provider relationship. Empirical research is gathered from a survey of 22 UK local authorities and five in‐depth case studies.

Findings

The framework shows how the use of ICTs changes the way public sector employee's work, especially when dealing with the Modernization Agenda. The framework highlights that the use of technology alters the roles of user and provider groups, in particular, their sanctioning behaviour, use of resources and barriers they face in their work routines.

Practical implications

The findings should be of value to policy makers who need to understand the changing work patterns in local authorities in order to plan new ways of public service delivery.

Originality/value

The paper illuminates the impact of the use of ICTs on the way different groups of employees work and interact with each other everyday during the time of public sector reform in UK local authorities.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1997

Steve Martin

Draws upon detailed empirical work undertaken with elected members and senior officers from a sample of 30 UK local authorities. Its focus is on the ways in which…

Abstract

Draws upon detailed empirical work undertaken with elected members and senior officers from a sample of 30 UK local authorities. Its focus is on the ways in which authorities have responded to rapid changes in the economic, social and political contexts and the profound challenges which these present to traditional modes of policy making and public management. Suggests that existing theoretical frameworks give insufficient attention to implications of changing local governance for the roles of elected members and that, in practice, most councillors feel ill‐equipped to respond to these changes. Local authorities need therefore to develop training and support for local politicians in fulfilling their rapidly changing and increasingly demanding roles. In particular they should look at ways of supporting elected members in working with external agencies so that they bring the “added value” of locally accountable political leadership to the work of partnerships involving public, private and voluntary sectors agencies. This will require them to embrace new forms of communication and methods of learning which are likely to be one of the key ingredients in attempts to revitalize local democracy.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 10 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1999

Ishtiaq Ahmed Choudhry

The elementary education system in Pakistan is fragmented into state controlled, municipal, and private education. The first is over‐controlled under the hierarchical…

Abstract

The elementary education system in Pakistan is fragmented into state controlled, municipal, and private education. The first is over‐controlled under the hierarchical structure, without any system of accountability or democratic control and is subject to political intervention. In urban areas, elementary education is totally left to the municipalities. Owing to their multi‐purpose nature, lack of clarity in the local government laws, and absence of central discipline and administrative control, the real interest of education could never be guaranteed among the municipalities. The political and administrative élite are fulfilling their educational needs from private sector, which is expanding speedily under the auspices of the government. Practically, State and Municipal education is left only to the poor people, who have no say in society. In such circumstances the only option is the establishment of the “education authorities” at division, district or the local level. This step will ensure the involvement of the related interests in planning, administration and maintenance of the educational institutions. It will also enhance a sense of participation and accountability among the educational community and equip the system with local knowledge.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 13 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

Keywords

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