Time for interactive control systems in the public sector? The case of the Every Child Matters policy change in England

Kominis, G. and Dudau, A.I. (2012) Time for interactive control systems in the public sector? The case of the Every Child Matters policy change in England. Management Accounting Research, 23(2), pp. 142-155. (doi:10.1016/j.mar.2012.04.002)

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Abstract

The present study employs the [Simons, 1990] and [Simons, 1995] to analyse a shift in the use of control systems by government in the policy area of children and young people in England. At a time when the public is becoming increasingly disillusioned with the government's control over the work of the agencies in this policy area, high-profile cases of crises involving children (e.g. [Department of Health, 1991] and [Laming, 2003]) have raised doubts about the effectiveness of the conventional systems of control in place to keep these organisations accountable. Indeed, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the traditional type of control systems in government, meant to strengthen public accountability, consistently fail to promote high standards of care. This paper utilises a middle range thinking methodology (Broadbent and Laughlin, 1998) to describe and interpret changes in the policy area of children and young people in England highlighting implications for inter-organisational control. Through the lens of the Simons's levers of control (LOC) framework (1995), it advances the argument that the government is complementing their traditional diagnostic control systems with more interactive ones, principally in an attempt to manage more effectively the risk and uncertainty increasingly present in their environment. An in-depth study of a Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) in ‘Brempton’, North West England, balanced with case evidence from policy documents, extends existing research in the area of control of inter-organisational relationships in the public sector.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dudau, Dr Adina and Kominis, Dr Georgios
Authors: Kominis, G., and Dudau, A.I.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Accounting and Finance
College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Management Accounting Research
ISSN:1044-5005
Published Online:09 May 2012

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