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The term ‘Joined-up Government’ (JUG) originates from the United Kingdom and was connected to the Labour Government of Tony Blair, which attempted to achieve and maintain cohesion of an ever more complex-growing public sector via JUG initiatives. Later, JUG has become an umbrella concept for various ways of coordinating public sector activities in order to achieve today’s governments’ objectives. This volume takes a comparative analytical approach on both the implementation and effects of reform initiatives in six different European countries (Austria, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy and Norway). It focuses on the local government level, which has been and still is subject to a range of partly contradictory reform pressures all over Europe, not least because of the financial crisis. This book gives an empirical account of how JUG initiatives manifest in local governments and to what extent planned reforms actually ‘deliver’ on their promises. A second interest is whether such activities represent yet another layer of equally motivated managerialist reforms, or are attempts to reverse earlier New Public Management (NPM)-inspired initiatives. The volume includes a discussion of success factors of JUG initiatives and raises several issues for practitioners.
Hilde Bjørnå is Professor of Political Science at UIT – The Arctic University of Norway and co-chair of the Working Group 2: ‘Internal (Post-) NPM Reforms’ of the EU COST Action ‘Local Public Sector Reforms: An International Comparison’. Stephan Leixnering is Senior Scientist at the Research Institute for Urban Management and Governance at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria. Tobias Polzer is Lecturer in Accounting at Queen’s Management School at Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom, and member of the School’s Centre for Not-for-Profit and Public-Sector Research.