THERE IS NO LONGER A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MANAGEMENT OF THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR
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THERE IS NO LONGER A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MANAGEMENT OF THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR The last twenty years have seen major changes within the public sector. The conservative government changes during the 1980's to 1990's saw them introduce improved services and long awaited improved efficiencies in the welfare state for instance. The reforms which took place by the conservative government, and latterly by the Labour government completely altered the way in which public sector management is carried out, thus leading us to the statement "There is no longer a difference between management of the public and private sector". Without a clear measurement of success, the public sector has often had measures imposed upon it in the form of performance indicators. Such indicators usually concentrate on a quantitative approach, examining elements of service, which can be measured (e.g. school truancy levels, hospital waiting times). Whilst many such indicators are important in the measurement of economy and efficiency, they are limited in accurately appraising effectiveness, which can only be properly examined through qualitative methods. The largest external influences resulting in the change in public sector in the last twenty years is political, legal, economic and socio cultural. The political agenda in the 1980's had several core themes. In order to change the way public sector was being managed, the government needed to alter the whole culture of the public sector and initiate and implement quite radical reforms.
These new 'not for profit' organisations were then able to attract private finance and invest in their neglected stocks and meet the requirements of the Decent Homes Standards by 2010. The managers of LSVT's and ALMO's have had to adapt to heavily involving their customers in matters concerning service delivery. The service delivery, greatly improved efficiency, quality and cost effectiveness was paramount. The overall corporate and strategic aims and objectives of the organisations was the focus of the new public sector managers. They are accountable on a greater scale to their boards, Housing Corporation, Audit Commission and customers in general. Their performance is monitored on a larger scale and accountability is vital. They need to demonstrate long-term viability and sound financial planning. With the government's Efficiency Agenda, organisations are in the necessary position of making gains via pooling their expertise and experiences. Public sector mangers are acutely aware that the government is eager to create a competition between organisations (especially for funding) therefore the gains via efficiency vehicles is essential. The government introduced Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT), Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) thus making cost cutting the imperative for public sector managers. They further increased the use of strategic models such as SWOT and PEST analysis, aligning the public sector more closely to the private sector at the strategic level.
Private sector managers are painfully aware they are completely accountable to customers and ignore the fact that this has proved extremely costly to many companies. Providing structures to make public sector units solely accountable to customers remains the most important challenge for New Public Management. Within the public sector, synergy is more problematic to achieve than the private sector because conflicts between performance measures, stakeholders, cultural thinking and less managerial scope for risk taking mean conditions for closer customer orientation are difficult to accomplish. Uncertain, unclear and potentially changing long term goals by stakeholders make environmental conditions more turbulent and subject to sharp alterations within the public sector. Evaluation of success between the public and private sector remains deeply different. While private sector performances can be examined against measurable and comparable targets, such as profits, production or sales, this is not so simple in the public sector, with often conflicting performance indicators imposed. In such circumstances it is often more practical to manage for stability instead of managing for change. The elements are however becoming more aligned with the private sector. The growth of technology and fundamental sifts in culture have meant that the time lapse between private sector initiatives being taken up by the public sector have been reduced. Technology has also greatly helped the public sector to become more responsive and has a crucial part to play in delivering services more closely with customer wishes and demands.
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