Public management reform and employee voice in UK public services

Geoff White, Paul Dennison, David Farnham, Sylvia Horton

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    The election of a Labour government in 1997, following an 18 year period of Conservative Party rule in the UK, promised a major change in governmental industrial relations policy. The new government’s election manifesto had indicated that there would be both new domestic legislation, in the form of a national minimum wage and rights to trade union recognition, and agreement to sign up to the European Union (EU) employment directives previously the subject of an ‘opt out’ clause for the UK in the Maastricht Treaty. A key aspect of this changed political terrain has been a commitment, at least in government rhetoric, to improving ‘employee voice’ in public-sector employment, partly as a means of facilitating continued public management reforms (Farnham, Hondeghem and Horton 2005a). The UK public sector consists of those government, or tax-funded, organizations providing public services to the population – largely through central government, the National Health Service (NHS) and local government authorities. In UK public services, the legal employers are state agencies, including the civil service, NHS trusts, local authorities and other public bodies such as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Employees are public servants working in these agencies or other public bodies under contracts of employment. These contracts are rooted in common law, supported by the same employment protection legislation as for private-sector workers. It is senior managers who represent public employers in negotiating, consulting and communicating with their staff or their representatives in public-service organizations. Public..
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIndustrial relations in the new Europe: enlargement, integration and reform
    EditorsPeter Leisink, Bram Steijn, Ulke Veersma
    Place of PublicationCheltenham
    PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
    Number of pages24
    ISBN (Print)9781845426149
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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