Local Government and Managerialism: A Marriage Made in Heaven or Hell Tim Robinson UTS Doctoral Student LGMA MPN 21 November 2003 Timothy.P.Robinson@uts.edu.au Research Questions What factors enable or constrain councils developing strategic capacity? How do these factors operate to shape the strategic capacity of the organisation? Does knowing the above assist in developing a diffusion theory about strategic capacity in the LG sector? Managerialism Adoption of private sector management ethos and techniques – ‘new managerialism’ Rational/analytic approach Focus on Efficiency & Effectiveness Emphasis on service delivery regulated by market forces and performance measurement Heavenly Applies an established body-of-knowledge Good governance and performance result from reasoned and detailed plans Policy goals facilitate delimited management Environmental scanning will ensure community engagement & accountability The Dark Side Highly prescriptive, rational/analytic models of strategic management have poor track record Management can become an end in itself Poor fit with turbulent political environment Can concentrate power in an elite and lockout others Discussion Point 1 Whether intended or not, does managerialism and the management planning regime imposed on the sector encourage too much of a left-sided approach? Do plans become too analytically based, too focused on the corporation, too limited to service delivery and too obsessed with plan making? How will you know when you have achieved enough ‘good management’? Discussion Point 2 Are there ways to harness a more upperright-sided approach given the emerging view that one condition required for strategic capacity to flourish is strong community engagement? Discussion Point 3 Is the challenge of Strategic Planning exacerbated by a tension about the role of LG in the 21st century?