Do you agree with Le Grand’s claim that choice gives power to voice?

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1. Le Grand (2003) argues that most public policy design and implementation is based on assumptions about human behaviour
2003-2005 Senior Policy Adviser to Blair led to quasi markets in health and education: The Other Invisible Hand: Delivering Public Services through Choice and Competition (2007).
2. People who finance, operate and use the welfare state were:
Knights AND
Pawns
But are now
Knaves AND
Queens
Public services are organised by policymakers to reflect assumptions about motivations.
3. If governments consider public servants to be Knights – i.e. public need is above self interest, want to help people, not driven by salary
Then they are not concerned about how ‘goods’ delivered
Provide funds and let experts/professionals get on with the job
But… low quality, patronising & inequitable (1945-79)
4. Best incentive structure is to think of public sector workers as having knightly and knavish motivations
Part self-sacrifice, part self-interest e.g. pay GPs to carry out minor patient tests
Cheaper to set targets
Combination may deliver best results for users; and users can transform from Pawns to Queens.
5. Different public sector roles, different motivations: e.g. doctors versus care workers
Anti-target culture can still be a knightly motivation – freedom to do a good job for their users/clients
Is pre-Thatcher characterisation accurate?
Assumptions about Knaves and Pawns – assumes autonomy & personal responsibility for disadvantage rather than structural
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