Partisan Governance and Policy Implementation: The Politics of Academy Conversion Amongst English Schools

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Description: This article demonstrates that party-political orientations within governance communities can have strong effects on policy implementation. Empirical evidence is drawn from the Academy conversion scheme for secondary schools in England that was recently pursued by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. The opt-in nature of the reform makes it possible to discern the impact that nominally apolitical school governors have on the implementation of the policy. Academy conversion is disproportionately found in more Conservative-voting constituencies due to varying school-level propensities to apply to convert, rather than varying propensities for the Department for Education to authorize conversions. Further, applications to convert are significantly more likely from schools in Conservative parliamentary seats that are under the control of Labour local authorities. Thus, nominally apolitical policy participants appear to act in rather political ways, which has implications for our understanding of the involvement of civil society in the provision of public services.

License: CC0 1.0 Universal

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