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Budgeting and governing for deficit reduction in the UK public sector : act three ‘accountability and audit arrangements’.

Ferry, L. and Eckersley, P. (2015) 'Budgeting and governing for deficit reduction in the UK public sector : act three ‘accountability and audit arrangements’.', Public money and management., 35 (3). pp. 203-210.


This paper explains how the UK central government has changed accountability and audit arrangements for local government in England, while retaining its approach to setting annual budgets within the context of multi-year spending reviews. It highlights how dismantling the institutions and processes that monitored outputs and outcomes for spending, such as public service agreements and comprehensive area assessment, meant that top-down accountability became focused overwhelmingly on financial conformance rather than organizational performance for local government. Supplementary reforms to increase the transparency or ‘visibility’ of public administration, and thereby enable greater bottom-up accountability, have resulted in a performance assessment system that is neither rigorous nor standardized. The overall result is a weakening of local accountability arrangements.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Accountability, Audit, Budgeting, Central government, Local government, Public sector.
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Publisher statement:© 2015 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the orginal work is properly cited.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:28 October 2015
Date of first online publication:17 March 2015
Date first made open access:No date available

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