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Ethics in Public Service for the New Millennium

Ethics in Public Service for the New Millennium

Abstract

Laski with the group theories of Bentley and Truman, and applies them to the 'actual' world as revealed by the Scott Report. O'Toole demonstrates that the public interest exists, though ministers and officials do not always make it their first priority, even when they agree what the public interest is. Chapters which extend the arena are those on equal opportunities by Susan Corby, and on the relationships between public authorities, courts and parliament under the Human Rights Act, explored by George Szablowski. Corby's well-organised chapter shows that equality was seen as an ethical issue, a matter of moral and social justice, only from the 1960s to the 1980s. Implementation seems to have been hindered in practice by New Public Management (NPM) reforms such as delegation to agencies. More fundamentally, it is hampered by the incapacity of top civil servants to comprehend the conflict between 'equality of opportunity' and 'selection on merit' as defined by the meritocracy in place. Another set of chapters deals with other effects of NPM. Guy Peters praises the 'direct democracy' NPM provides through forcing bureaucrats to respond to citizen-consumer demands, yet finds it outweighed by the greater potential for patronage appointments and the shift
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