Working Paper

The Work Programme: a new public governance policy or a continuation of new public management?



Fuertes V & McQuaid R (2013) The Work Programme: a new public governance policy or a continuation of new public management?. EVeP, 20.

Since the 1970s, the governance of labour market policies in the UK has been characterised by New Public Management (NPM) traits and since the late 1990s the welfare system has experienced a trend towards activation. The current Coalition Government has maintained this focus on activation and the national welfare-to-work strategy for the long-term unemployed, the Work Programme, follows a similar pattern to that of previous programmes, although novel elements aim to tackle some of the criticism of previous policies. It has been argued that this increased shift towards activation-focused welfare policies is changing the governance of public policy towards the adoption of a new model inspired by partnership working and synonymous with New Public Governance. This paper, through documentary evidence and qualitative interviews, compares the Work Programme with previous policies with regards to three operational aspects -marketisation, service operation, and performance payment- and situates it within governance typologies.

Work Programme; Governance; Activation

Title of seriesEVeP
Number in series20
PublisherFondazione Volontariato e Partecipazione
Publisher URL…blic-management/
ISSN of series2260-3272

People (1)


Professor Ronald McQuaid
Professor Ronald McQuaid

Professor of Work and Employment, Management, Work and Organisation