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By Christopher Pollitt, Colin Talbot, Janice Caulfield, Amanda Smullen (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0230504868

ISBN-13: 9780230504868

ISBN-10: 1349516562

ISBN-13: 9781349516568

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3 – translation by the authors from ‘In beide landen wordt agentschapvorming geacht te leiden tot een meer prestatiegerichte sturing door het ministerie, bedrijfsmatiger functioneren van de uitvoeringsorganisatie en een groetere oriëntatie op de gebruikers (klanten)’) Many of these bodies [agencies and other ‘distributed’ entities] have a quasi- or fully contractual relationship with their line ministry/ minister. Targets are set jointly by the line ministry and the chief executive and boards (where they exist), and chief executives report on, and are accountable for the achievement of these targets.

Mostly externally imposed rules with some local discretion. 36 Agencies Independence implies autonomy over a whole range of choices about how an agency or other arms-length body organizes itself internally. Both ‘independence’ and ‘autonomy’ tend to run together two different dimensions: (a) how far is an organization formally separated out from its ‘parent’ body and clearly delimited as a separate entity and (b) how far is the organization free to make its own choices about internal arrangements or how far are these externally imposed upon it?

The idea of organizing state activities – whether tax collection, policing or social services – in more or less autonomous and separate agencies is nothing new in the United States. Important US federal functions, such as forestry, posts and food and drug administration fought for, and won, substantial autonomy over both operations and policy in the early years of the twentieth century. This was consolidated in the governmental expansions of the New Deal, the Second World War and in the big post-war expansion of public services (Carpenter, 2001).

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Agencies: How Governments Do Things Through Semi-Autonomous Organizations by Christopher Pollitt, Colin Talbot, Janice Caulfield, Amanda Smullen (auth.)


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