Modes of State Governance, Populist Pressures and Public Sector Reform

  • Matthew FlindersEmail author
  • Christopher Huggins
Part of the International Series on Public Policy book series (ISPP)


The traditional account of political authority and policy-making in the United Kingdom offers a simplistic picture of governance. Under the ‘Westminster model’, governance capacity is seen to be centralised in a strong executive which dominates legislative and policy-making processes and exercises control through a unitary state. In recent decades, this model has come under strain due to the widespread delegation of tasks, functions and responsibilities away from the direct control of national politicians. In this chapter, the changing topography of the state is mapped through the analysis of two specific modes or ‘types’ of multilevel governance which, in turn, offer empirical evidence that underpins concerns regarding unintended consequences, particularly around public values, by highlighting control-dilemmas, complexity questions and confusion in relation to accountability. This chapter suggests that these unintended consequences have played a role in fuelling the emergence of populist pressures in ways that have generally not been acknowledged in analyses that have focused on economic and cultural rather than bureaucratic factors.


Political authority Governance Westminster model Governance capacity Executive Legislative Unitary state Multilevel governance Public values Accountability Populist Economic Cultural Bureaucratic 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.University of SuffolkSuffolkUK

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