Implementation and the Governance Problem: A Pressure Participant Perspective


Cairney P (2009) Implementation and the Governance Problem: A Pressure Participant Perspective. Public Policy and Administration, 24 (4), pp. 355-377.

This article has two aims: to qualify the UK government's ‘problem' of governance in a comparison with Scotland and Wales, and to use implementation studies (the ancestors of the new governance literature) to explore policy developments since devolution in Britain. It presents a puzzling finding from extensive interview research: that while we may expect UK government policy to suffer a bigger ‘implementation gap' based on distinctive governance problems (such as greater service delivery fragmentation and the unintended consequences of top-down policy styles), pressure participants in Scotland and Wales are more likely to report implementation failures. Using a ‘top-down' framework, it explores three main explanations for this finding: that the size of the implementation gap in England is exaggerated by a focus on particular governance problems; that pressure participant dissatisfaction follows unrealistic expectations in the devolved territories; and that the UK government undermines devolved policy implementation, by retaining control of key policy instruments and setting the agenda on measures of implementation success.

agenda setting; devolution; elite interviews; governance; implementation; interest groups

Public Policy and Administration: Volume 24, Issue 4

Publication date31/10/2009