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Implementation and policy change: aspects of bus passenger transport in the U.K.

Dudley, GF

Implementation and policy change: aspects of bus passenger transport in the U.K. Thumbnail


GF Dudley


The dynamics of policy change are inevitably complex, and can involve inputs at all stages of the policy process. These stages are to some extent interdependent, and the expertise of the implementer, together with the usually long time-scale involved in an implementation process, would suggest that those who execute a policy are particularly well placed to influence change. At the same time there is also considerable scope for discontinuity within the process, with the result that policy change can come about from autonomous events at the policy-making level, and have little connection with the work of the implementer. The aggregative model of implementation, put forward by Dunsire, is considered to be a particularly valuable tool for gauging these connections and discontinuities. The case study examines the creation and implementation of legislation affecting the bus industry since the beginning of the Twentieth Century. The category of operators chosen for study is that of the territorial busmen, who in earlier years were subject to the control of the entrepreneurs, but in recent times have come under state ownership in the form of the National Bus Company (NBC). An organizational analysis of the NBC suggests that it retains many of the traditional values of the company busmen, despite suffering from declining passenger demand. The final part of the case study looks at a number of NBC subsidiaries, and traces the inter-organizational dynamics of the relationship with the County Councils in which their services operate. The evidence of the case study suggests that the capacity for discontinuity within the policy process was initially under-estimated, and that although implementers possess great power within their own sphere, it is policy-makers who are in a more advantageous position to initiate radical change.

Publication Date Jan 1, 1982


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