New Public Administration
A new theory to handle the new reality faced by public servants in the twenty-first century, dealing with the evolving ideal of democratic citizenship and seeks to offer a unifying vision of policy, politics and policy implementation.
(Bourgon, 2007, pp. 15-22)---------------------------------
There is a growing distance between the theoretical foundation provided by the public administration theory of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the reality faced by public servants in the twenty-first century. Also, despite its best intentions, the new public management (NPM) did not offer public servants an alternative model to help them resolve emerging conflicts and tensions. Concepts of citizenship, democracy or public interest have evolved over time and they are continuing to evolve. Consequently, the role of government and the role of the public service are being transformed in ways that push beyond the constraints of the Classic model. According to Bourgon, a journey towards a New Public Administration theory must be dealing with the following issues: democratic citizenship; public interest; public policy; and services to citizens. First, a ‘new’ theory should start with the ideal of democratic citizenship. The public service derives its true meaning from its mandate to serve citizens to advance the public good. This is the raison d’être of the institution, the source of motivation and pride of all those who choose to make it their life, whether for a season or for an entire career. Second, a New Public Administration theory would propose a unifying vision of policy, politics and policy implementation as one circular, integrated, and interactive process that brings together all relevant actors. This principle of active and democratic interactions would replace the doctrine of strict separation – a doctrine that has long been discredited but is still considered as a point of reference, particularly when things go wrong. The new theory would recognize the fact that both policy makers and administrators are actively involved in all aspects of policy research, policy development and policy implementation. It would help elected officials and professional civil servants act responsibly, ethically and in accordance with democratic principles. It would also recognize that, in the twenty-first century, discretion is necessary in policy implementation and, thus, would help to explore how the exercise of discretion could be informed by citizens’ choices and participation. Finally, the new theory would help to address the issue of professional responsibility and accountability.