Policy is not made in the electoral arena or in the gladiatorial confrontations of Parliament, but in the netherworld of committees, civil servants, professions, and interest groups.
This collection explores the private world of public policy. It provides a survey of the literature on the concept of policy networks and demonstrates its importance for understanding specific policy areas. The case studies cover policy-making in agriculture, civil nuclear power, youth employment, smoking, heart disease, sea defences, information technology, and exchange rate policy. Finally the editors attempt an overall assessment of the utility of the concept, focusing on such questions as why networks change, which interests dominate and benefit from networks, and the consequences of the present system for representative democracy.
To describe policy networks is not to condone political oligopoly. Britain has witnessed the substitution of private government for public accountability. The analysis of policy networks draws attention to this erosion of representative democracy and exposes the private government of Britain to public gaze.
`This volume makes an important and valuable contribution to the burgeoning literature on policy networks and policy communities in central and local government ... the editors' opening and concluding chapters provide, in turn, an excecllent, reflective introduction to the policy networks literature and a thoroughly competent analysis of the preceding case study material.'
Public Policy Network
'no typography, however sophisticated, can hope to do justice to the variety of evidence reported by the different authors'
Chris Ham, University of Birmingham, Political Studies, 1993
`This book provides a definitive account of the matters of issues, coupled with a group of excellent case studies and an assessment of where the debate ought to go next.'
West European Politics