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Budgeting and governing for deficit reduction in the UK public sector: act three ‘accountability and audit arrangements’

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JournalPublic Money and Management
DateAccepted/In press - Sep 2014
DatePublished (current) - 4 May 2015
Issue number3
Volume35
Pages (from-to)203-210
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper explains how the UK central government has changed accountability and audit arrangements for local government in England, while retaining its approach to setting annual budgets within the context of multi-year spending reviews. It highlights how dismantling the institutions and processes that monitored outputs and outcomes for spending, such as public service agreements and comprehensive area assessment, meant that top-down accountability became focused overwhelmingly on financial conformance rather than organizational performance for local government. Supplementary reforms to increase the transparency or ‘visibility’ of public administration, and thereby enable greater bottom-up accountability, have resulted in a performance assessment system that is neither rigorous nor standardized. The overall result is a weakening of local accountability arrangements.

    Research areas

  • Accountability, audit, budgeting, central government, local government, public sector

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