University Of Tasmania

File(s) not publicly available

Bringing the Politics Back In :Public Value in Westminster Parliamentary Government

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 08:21 authored by Rhodes, RAW, Wanna, J
We challenge the usefulness of the 'public value' approach in Westminster systems with their dominant hierarchies of control, strong roles for ministers, and tight authorizing regimes underpinned by disciplined two-party systems. We identify two key confusions: about public value as theory, and in defining who are 'public managers'. We identify five linked core assumptions in public value: the benign view of large-scale organizations; the primacy of management; the relevance of private sector experience; the downgrading of party politics; and public servants as platonic guardians. We identify two key dilemmas around the 'primacy of party politics' and the notion that public managers should play the role of platonic guardians deciding the public interest. We illustrate our argument with short case studies of: the David Kelly story from the UK; the 'children overboard' scandal in Australia; the 'mad cow disease' outbreak in the UK; the Yorkshire health authority's 'tea-parties', and the Cave Creek disaster in New Zealand. © 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Publication title

Public Administration








School of Social Sciences


Blackwell Publ Ltd

Place of publication

108 Cowley Rd, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox4 1Jf

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Political systems

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania