Compulsory competition for local Government services in the UK: A case of market rhetoric and camouflaged centralism

AuthorJohn Fenwick,Anne Foreman,Keith Shaw
DOI10.1177/095207679501000106
Publication Date01 March 1995
SubjectArticles
63
Compulsory
competition
for
local
Government
services
in
the
UK:
A
case
of
market
rhetoric
and
camouflaged
centralism
Keith
Shaw
and
John
Fenwick
University
of Northumbria
Anne
Foreman
Leeds
Metropolitan
University
Abstract
Recent
years
have
witnessed
a
considerable
extension
in
the
defined
activities
covered
by
the
CCT
regime
in
UK
local
government.
While
the
1980s
saw
CCT
applied
to
mainly
manual
services
(such
as
refuse
collection),
the
1990s have
witnessed
the
spread
of
compulsory
competition
into
white-collar
professions
and
services
such
as
Housing
Management.
Recent
accounts
of
CCT
have
tended
to
assess
its
overall
impact
within
a
framework
that
is
mainly informed
by
the
emphasis
on
how
the
management
of
local
public
services
will
benefit
from
the
contemporary
introduction
of
Competition
and
Quasi-Markets.
While
CCT
has
clearly
had
some
important
managerial
implications,
this
article
argues
that
its
more
important
political
impact
has
been
to
intensify
central
control
and
regulation
in
order
to
restructure
the
local
welfare
state.
In
this
sense,
the
vocabulary
of
the
market
has
served
to
camouflage
a
process
of
centralisation
which
is
characteristic
both
of
New
Right
ideology
and
more
traditional
concerns
within
the
UK
political
system.
Introduction:
Reframing
the
CCT
Debate
In
a
recent
analysis
of
urban
policy
in
the
UK,
William
Solesbury
has
argued
that
the
conceptual
framework
(or
’policy
frame’)
traditionally
used
to
make
sense
of
such
policy
interventions -
the
welfare
perspective -
is
in
need
of
rethinking.
The
proposed
new
policy
frame,
that
of
Regulation,
is
deemed
to
be
more
in
keeping
with
what
has
actually
occurred
in
British
cities
in
the
1980s,
and
as
such,
amounts
to
a
new
paradigm
within
which
empirical
evidence
and
ideological
interpretations
can
be
integrated
and
a
new
political
language
and
vocabulary
adopted.
(Solesbury
1993
p
32).

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