A comparative study of governance changes on the perceptions of accountability in Fire and Rescue Services in England

Lakoma, K. ORCID: 0000-0002-2583-3813, 2022. A comparative study of governance changes on the perceptions of accountability in Fire and Rescue Services in England. In: Public Administration Doctoral Conference, Nottingham Trent University, 14 September 2022.

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The nature and form of accountability in the public sector is extremely complex, as public organisations are increasingly held accountable by multiple institutions and standards. However, few, if any recent empirical studies, have examined perceptions of accountability where long-established governance arrangements are changing. This study explores how key actors perceive accountability changes in an under-researched public service, namely fire and rescue services in England, which are experiencing significant governance reforms after a long period of stability. The UK’s Policing and Crime Act 2017 provided for a new model of governance in the form of a single directly elected commissioner, a Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, to replace the traditional indirectly elected Fire Authority but did not make the model mandatory. To date, a few studies have recognised and investigated the immaturity of the new single person governance arrangements, but none have examined them empirically and in detail. This paper uses a comparative multiple case study design to explore governance arrangements for a sample of six fire and rescue services in England, three of which have adopted the new model and three that have retained more traditional arrangements. It draws on 38 semi-structured interviews and 5 focus groups with internal fire and rescue services’ stakeholders, and document analysis of publicly available policy documents, to understand the impact of the governance arrangements on individuals’ perceptions of accountability within each service. The paper adds to the wider understanding of the influences of institutional structures on individuals’ perceptions and actions, and it demonstrates that accountability perceptions change depending on the way public services are governed.

Item Type: Conference contribution
Creators: Lakoma, K.
Date: September 2022
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 16 Sep 2022 13:13
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2022 13:13
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/47047

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