Britain: Staff Participation and Modernization under ‘New’ Labour

  • David Farnham
  • Sylvia Horton
  • Geoff White


In Britain, public management reform has proceeded uninterrupted under both Conservative and Labour governments since 1979. The Conservatives, in office from 1979 to 1997, introduced major reforms culminating in changes to the size and contours of the state, its managerial processes and practices and the composition and culture of public services. Many writers have described, explained and critiqued these changes (Farnham and Horton 1993, 1996, Ferlie et al. 1996, Flynn 2002, Horton and Farnham 1999, Hughes 2003, Pollitt 1990) but few have sought to examine the role that public servants have played in the reform process or how the reforms have affected their position and influence in the management of public services. This chapter focuses on the modernization programme of the Blair governments since 1997 and examines the role of civil servants and their trade unions in that process. The data on which it is based draw upon primary and secondary written sources, semi-structured, in-depth interviews with Senior Civil Service (SCS) managers from the Cabinet Office and the Treasury, a regional and a local manager from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and senior civil service trade union officers.1


Trade Union Civil Service Collective Bargaining Union Membership Direct Participation 
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© David Farnham, Sylvia Horton and Geoff White 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Farnham
  • Sylvia Horton
  • Geoff White

There are no affiliations available

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