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Beyond bureaucracy? Assessing Institutional Change in the Governance of Water in England and Wales

Watson, Nigel and Deeming, Hugh and Treffny, Raphael (2009) Beyond bureaucracy? Assessing Institutional Change in the Governance of Water in England and Wales. Water Alternatives, 2 (3). pp. 448-460. ISSN 1965-0175

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Abstract

Alternative governance approaches in which non-state actors play a substantial role in policy making and implementation are currently attracting attention. Government-centred water bureaucracies have to adapt to increased complexity. Relationships among state and non-state actors in the English water sector have markedly changed in the last few decades in connection with the privatisation of water services, reform of arrangements for flood management, and implementation of the European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD). The paper assesses whether such changes represent a shift 'beyond bureaucracy' and the beginning of a new era of multi-party 'water governance'. From an examination of institutional reform in river basin management and flood risk management, the paper concludes that the water bureaucracy has actually strengthened its control, despite using language emphasizing partnerships and collaborative governance. Responsibility for policy implementation has been reallocated among a range of public, private and civic groups. This 'neo-bureaucratic' arrangement is problematic because the government-centred water bureaucracy has lost some of its accountability and legitimacy, while the newer collaborative arrangements have little real influence over the direction of water policy. Governance capacity needs to be enhanced by adopting a collaborative approach to development of water policy in addition to its implementation.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Water Alternatives
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bureaucracy ; governance ; institutional arrangements ; co-delivery ; England
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 58218
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 05 Sep 2012 08:53
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2013 08:41
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/58218

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