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An era of governance through performance management – New Labour's National Health Service from 1997 to 2010.

Ferry, L. and Scarparo, S. (2015) 'An era of governance through performance management – New Labour's National Health Service from 1997 to 2010.', Accounting history review., 25 (3). pp. 219-238.


In 1997, the New Labour government inherited a ‘crisis’ in the UK National Health Service from the outgoing Conservative government. To address this perceived crisis, New Labour offered investment and, contrary to expectations, further neo-liberal health service reforms. In particular, the government extended the scope of performance management beyond financial numbers to encompass all aspects of managerial and organisational performance. Drawing on an analytics of government framework, this paper demonstrates how reforms were framed and given meaning through a framework of hierarchical accountability and centralised control. These panoptical arrangements relied on performance-management technologies of targets and ratings, which were linked to patient choice and a prospective funding system called ‘Payment by Results’. In turn, these top-down technologies disciplined knowledge, identity, and visibility and control of practice.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Accountability, Accounting history, Governmentality, Health care, National Health Service, Performance management.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Accounting History Review on 01/09/2015, available online at:
Date accepted:29 July 2015
Date deposited:28 October 2015
Date of first online publication:September 2015
Date first made open access:01 March 2017

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