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PART IV Private consultants and the delivery of public policy

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role of private consultants in a contested policy domain Unease about experts’ control of knowledge and its impact on the democratic process have been expressed since at least the 1950s (Linovski, 2015 ; Larson, 1977 ; Irwin, 1995 ). Recently, experts have been widely derided during the UK’s 2016 EU referendum and Donald Trump’s campaign for the US Presidency. Planners specifically have been the subject of public criticism for decades: derided as out-of-touch technocrats in the post-war rational planning boom, and more recently more likely to be viewed as a

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on future economies through both knowledge of them – gained from techniques like forecasting and predictive analytics – and the capacity to intervene in ways that potentially influence them. Today, future knowledge is more commonly generated by private consultants than by planners or developers themselves. Economic development experts conduct regional economic modelling and produce forecasts to help local governments imagine the costs and benefits of major transformations, like the arrival of a corporate headquarters. These same consultants also work for private

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. The idea that the reform was about putting an end to cumbersome bureaucracy and unnecessary administrative procedures was constantly reinforced both by public managers and private consultants. ‘Public ways’ of dealing with reforms were systematically disparaged in regards to a supposedly flexible, effective and efficient ‘private-sector approach’ to change. By resorting to an obscure and technical wording, incomprehensible to non- specialists, consultants managed to neutralise potential criticisms from employees. The latter were left totally confused

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grant funding was only a short-term solution to financial insolvency and saw the possibility for the group to become self-sustaining by converting to a social enterprise. They approached the PCT commissioner and also a private consultant working exclusively for the voluntary sector and formed a partnership. The partners set up a business development subcommittee within the committee structure of the mutual support group. Their development plan proposed a restructure into a social enterprise and included a draft application for a Lottery grant of £100,000. The

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help prepare their plan, although the rounds of neighbourhood planning programme support offered by government actively invited private consultants to support neighbourhood planning groups. Parker et al (2014) found that around 70% of active neighbourhood planning areas had drawn on private consultants in various ways. Critically, this was to assist in (re)writing policy in many cases given that many areas had found the guidance difficult to interpret and apply and the overall process to be burdensome. Consideration of how national government, local

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survey was on whether respondents access academic research products, such as journals or reports. Clearly, there are other sources of expertise available, and other channels through which research evidence can be communicated (for example, by one’s colleagues or through a private consultant). We have not explored such wider issues here. Study design Data for this paper is part of a larger project examining the uptake of academic research in social policy development and programme review.1 One phase of this project included a survey of officials in federal and

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older adults in the planning process as much as it should. For example, there were a series of meetings a few years ago to make Calgary ‘age-friendly’, with lots of ideas suggested to planners; however, in our estimation, all of them were ignored. Engagement meetings still take place, but they are often run by private consultants trying to acknowledge the aging population. We believe that this is not the job of private entities, but the job of municipal government and city council. Calgary Aging in Place Co-Operative (CAIP) approach to supporting aging The

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extent did the information from that source typically influence the outcome of a policy or management decision?’ Figure 7.3 illustrates the results for those that use the various sources. Again, and unsurprisingly, information provided by internal staff was not only the most common, but staff information was also the most influential. Influence among the remaining sources follows the same pattern as Figure 7.2 with private consultants, other governments, and professional associations clustering together. Information from local universities did better relative to

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% Sectoral federations 9% 8% NGOs and other civil society organisations 7% 8% Trade unions or employers’ organisations 6% 7% Federal research institutes 5% 16% Individual citizens 2% 5% Think tanks 2% 4% Individual private companies 2% 3% Private consultants 2% 2% Individual scientists 2% 2% Scientific research groups 2% 1% Political parties’ study centres 1% 2% Citizen movements 1% 1% Policy analysis in the central and regional governments 90 Policy analysis in Belgium When consulted about the extent to which they devote their time to various sorts of activity, 40% of

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