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International Institute of Administrative Sciences Monographs Vol.16

Managing Parliaments in The 21st Century

EGPA Yearbook

P. Falconer, C. Smith and C.W.R. Webster
140x210mm pp.252 Yen8,400 2001

This book reports on the endeavour, undertaken by EGPA, to make the
discipline of public administration fruitful for the management of
parliaments. The theme was deemed appropriate, not only because Scotland,
the host country, once again after almost 300 years has its own legislative
assembly, but also because of the importance of revisiting the role of
legislative institutions as we move into the 21st century. If parliaments
are to re-assert themselves vis-a-vis the ever growing dominance of
'executive government', their work has to be managed and organised in a
systematic way. It also has to be supported and administered appropriately
by human and instrumental capacities and facilities.
In this respect there are tasks to be fulfilled by managers, albeit though
they are not elected. Tasks that are usually the remit of managers, such as,
priority setting and allocating time, money and effort are typically the
domain of political representatives in parliamentary settings. Whilst
politicians are keen to introduce managerial practices into public services
they are less enthusiastic about the idea of introducing managers and
management styles into parliamentary work. Perhaps this is because they
reject the view that legitimate representatives of the public should be
managed. So, if public administration has a role to play in supporting
parliamentary work it will have to reflect critically on its foundations of
efficiency, effectiveness and user (client) friendliness - key features of
managing in the public sector but not necessarily political values. The
discipline of public administration will therefore have to identify a clear
demarcation between political and technical aspects of parliamentary
There are two further ways in which parliaments have a stake in a public
administration discipline which focuses on parliaments:

First, parliaments need an 'insight for oversight'. As the invitation
brochure to the EGPA conference indicates: 'the legislative function does
not cease with the passage of a bill. Only by monitoring the implementation
process, can members of the legislative uncover any statutory defects and
act to correct agency misinterpretation or maladministration. In this sense,
oversight exists as an essential corollary to the law making function'. For
this to be achieved effective parliamentary oversight requires the effective
implementation of the techniques and mechanisms of public administration.
Second, the contexts in which parliaments are fulfilling their legislative
function are changing dramatically. The once hierarchical approach of
governments towards society is being replaced by new so-called 'governance'
relationships in which networks of not-for-profit organisations and private
enterprises are playing a major role. By stimulating outsourcing,
autonomization, the creation of agencies, and privatisation, parliaments are
increasing the complexity of the environment in which they have to operate.
The discipline of public administration has a role to play in orientating
parliamentarians in this new environment.

It is not only parliamentarians who hesitate in involving public
administrators and managers in organising their work. The public
administration discipline itself has tended to neglect the administration,
organisation and management of parliaments as a valid area of study. This
book is an attempt to redress this imbalance. Hopefully it will attract the
attention of parliamentarians as well as public administration practitioners
and academics.


Foreword/ Acknowledgements/ Introduction/ Setting the Scene/ Specialist Working Group on Managing Parliaments in the 21st Century/ Selection of Papers of the Permanent Study Groups Related to the Conference Theme/ Reports of the EGPA Permanent Study Groups/ About EGPA/ The European Group of Public Administration/ Publications of EGPA/ Author Index

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