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An analysis of the policy process in a local education authority : a study of micropolitical activity

Durrant, John Edward; (2003) An analysis of the policy process in a local education authority : a study of micropolitical activity. Doctoral thesis , Institute of Education, University of London. Green open access

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There has been considerable debate about how macro and micro studies illuminate the policy process. This study acknowledges that central government has assumed the main responsibility for setting policy for school education. The research examines the way in which such policy is refined and shaped by micropolitical activity in a local education authority (LEA) in England, taking the process for producing four statutory and strategic Plans as the context. This is a qualitative study undertaken by an insider in the LEA, although I was not directly involved in the preparation of the Plans. Fifteen participants involved in the policy process were interviewed. Micropolitical activity of the individuals who participated in the process is explored; a key component of such- activity is the way in which the participants exercised power and influence and how this can be understood in relation to existing conceptualisations of power. One of the key themes arising from the study is that Elected Members and officers in the LEA, as 'elites', have significant influence on how central government policy is refined. Their influence was moderated to some extent by key stakeholders such as headteachers and governors in the education service who were generally positive about their contributions to the policy process. However, a number of parents who were also involved in the consultations as the Plans were prepared felt that their views were not given sufficient consideration and as a consequence they expressed a degree of frustration with the process. Although there was a commitment to public consultations, many of the important decisions on the detail of the content of some of the Plans were taken in meetings in private between Elected Members and officers. The research has demonstrated how agenda setting and the management of meetings and consultations can circumscribe the areas for discussion, a matter of which Elected Members and officers need to be aware.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: An analysis of the policy process in a local education authority : a study of micropolitical activity
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://ethos.bl.uk/ProcessSearch.do?query=536162
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis: (EdD) University of London Institute of Education. 2003.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10020410
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