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Public Bodies Reform Case Studies

 

The programme of public bodies reform undertaken by the Coalition Government in 2010 made extensive proposals for change. Of the 904 bodies reviewed 500 have been subject to some kind of reform, including 149 abolitions and the merger of 162 bodies into 66 organisations.

As part of our research we have examined the experiences of public bodies subject to reform through the Public Bodies Bill. Through a series of case studies we have considered the reaction of bodies and stakeholders to proposals, the progress of reform implementation, and the eventual outcomes achieved in each case. Specific attention has also been paid to the Parliamentary process and attempts by Lords and others to alter – with varying degrees of success – the proposals for specific bodies.

This work draws together documentary analysis, interview data and media searches to map developments in relation to each of the bodies listed below. It has informed a forthcoming publication on agency defence strategies and will provide a useful resource to any scholars, students or practitioners seeking to understand how agencies react to reform, and how reforms develop over time.

Case Studies

  • Youth Justice Board – This body was initially scheduled for abolition but was ultimately retained.
  • Security Industry Authority – This body was initially scheduled for abolition but was ultimately retained.
  • Chief Coroner – This body was initially scheduled for abolition but was ultimately retained.
  • Human Tissue Authority – This body was initially scheduled for merger with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the Care Quality Commission but these plans were abandoned in favour of organisational reform.
  • Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority – This body was initially scheduled for merger with the Human Tissue Authority and the Care Quality Commission but these plans were abandoned in favour of organisational reform.
  • Forestry Commissioners – This body was initially scheduled for reform but plans were altered following extensive public opposition.
  • UK Film Council – This body was scheduled for abolition and closed on 01 April 2011.
  • Museums, Libraries and Archives Council – This body was scheduled for abolition and closed in April 2012.
  • Consumer Focus – This body was initially scheduled for abolition, with its functions transferring to Citizens Advice. These proposals are being implemented.

These cases are analysed in two open access articles:

These cases are analysed in two open access articles (click the links to view):

Dommett, K. and C. Skelcher (2014) Opening the black-box of administrative reform:  A strategic-relational analysis of agency responses to termination threats, International Public Management Journal 17 (4): 540-563

Tonkiss, K. and C. Skelcher (2015) Abolishing the Audit Commission: Framing, discourse coalitions and administrative reform, Local Government Studies, 41 (6), pp 861-880