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Squaring the public policy circle: managing a mismatch between demands and resources

By Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby FBA

This report discusses the current insistence of pressures to cut back highly valued services risks a further decline of trust in politicians.

Conflict between rising demands and pressure for cut-backs has been a feature of public policy debate for at least 30 years, but although new ways of addressing this problem have been developed, none have been wholly successful. The strategies introduced include shifting responsibility from government to the individual, the private or the voluntary sector for various areas of provision; innovative and stricter management of state provision; and attempts to change people’s behaviour to reduce demands. 

Peter Taylor-Gooby argues that the current insistence of pressures to cut back highly valued services risks a further decline of trust in politicians. At the same time, these difficulties do offer an opportunity to open up an important and informed debate about how they can be tackled. 

Publication part of

New paradigms in public policy

This project reviews some particularly difficult issues in public policy and makes suggestions as to why and how concepts should be adapted, reformed or reinvented.