Eric Shaw
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The meaning of modernisation
New Labour and public sector reform

If there is a dominant motif in Labour's approach to the conduct of domestic policy, it is 'modernisation' - and its synonym, 'reform'. This chapter argues that an underlying pattern in Labour's approach to the public services can be uncovered. This will be called 'New Labour Managerialism', a policy project with four interlinked constituent elements: tight performance management, choice, competition and diversity of supply. The chapter briefly outlines the traditional Labour approach to the public services, labelled the 'professional model' and the objections lodged against it by New Labour. It explores the main contours of the Tony Blair Government's alternative model, 'New Labour managerialism'. The chapter considers the extent to which this new approach has succeeded in promoting its key objective of higher quality, more equitably delivered services in the two central policy sectors of secondary education and healthcare.

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