New Public Management and the Queensland Police Service

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"The changes brought about by the adoption of New Public Management principles in policing related organisations have resulted in little improvement in the areas of performance and accountability." New Public Management and the Queensland Police Service

The early 1990s saw a change in the way business was conducted and services delivered by Australian public sector organisations. This change was in synchronisation with the rising tide of globalisation that hailed in the ongoing necessity for the public sector to put into practice the processes that deliver effective and efficient public management (Brunetto and Farr-Wharton 2004, p. 221). Mention of globalisation brings to mind the ‘Macworld’ view (Dunleavy (in Cope, Leishman and Starie 1997, p.446) of approaching discussion about not only product choices being standardised across nations but also standardisation of ideas regarding best practice systems and processes. This paper defines NPM, performance and accountability and describes their relationship as it is applied to policing related organisations in general and more specifically the Queensland Police Service (QPS). Discussion regarding the QPS’s performance and accountability of police inevitably features the 1987 Fitzgerald Inquiry because that is the point at which police management systems and practices once examined were found to lack standard principles of governance. It is no accident then that police and policing related organisations are more than ever held to account for their performance, efficiency, effectiveness and transparency. Origins of New Public Management

Professor Christopher Hood (2000, p. 3) argues that changes to public management systems take place due to ‘international competitiveness and represent an international or even global set of received ideas about institutional design and managerial best practice. Subsequently there has been large scale revolution in public sectors in most westernised countries since the late 1980s, highlighting the change in the organisational culture to better reflect that of private sector companies operating in a commercial environment (Osborne and Gaebler in Bradley and Parker 2006, p. 89). As a consequence, ‘new public management’ (NPM) was born to administer public sector agencies more like private organisations (Cope et al 1997, p, 448). Commenting in 1991 Hood states that the NPM is one of the most striking international trends to occur in public administration in the last 20 years (Hood 1991, p. 3) thus reminding us that NPM has been in existence in both theory and practice for some time. The business of policing has indeed a global influence in that collective lessons have been learnt from Inquiries and reviews and systems and practices shared. Additional to this global aspect is that terrorism, transnational crime such as internet crime and people smuggling have made it obvious that countries are all part of a global community (Edwards 2005, p.283). In the face of policing, be it of transnational or local crimes, there exists the community expectation and government mandate that police will deliver a quality service and targeted results. In referring to ‘developing a customer focused and performance oriented culture’, Hyde (1999, p. 4) advocates that police leaders’ ‘management skills will need to be more closely aligned to the private sector than the military model’. It is indeed the private sector model that has been superimposed upon public sector organisations and a corporate style philosophy cultivated. The cultivation of corporate style management principles applied to policing related organisations on one hand is useful yet on the other hand; it is the concept and reality of private policing under the banner of the security industry that requires examination. Private policing like other trends has occurred as a result of several events. These include the global threat of terrorism, the American influenced security...
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