Accountability: A Public Law Analysis of Government by Contract

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Oxford University Press, 2001 - Law - 224 pages
Many government bodies relate to each other through contracts: government departments and agencies; government departments and the Treasury; National Health Service (NHS) purchasers and NHS Trusts. These 'internal contracts' are not, in general, regulated or enforced by the law.This book explores the practical problems encountered by the parties to internal contracts, drawing on evidence from an empirical case study of NHS contracts. It uncovers difficulties in defining the parties' roles; in maintaining good working relationships; and in securing compliance withcontractual terms. It then examines the possibility of solving these problems through law. Some commentators, particularly public lawyers, have condemned the law's failure to keep pace with the rise of 'government by contract', but few have made specific proposals for reform. The book develops anoriginal public law analysis of internal contracts, interpreting them as mechanisms of accountability from service providers to purchasers. It proposes norms which would help the parties to use their contracts as fair and effective mechanisms of accountability. It also suggests reforms to theinstitutional framework for internal contracts.The book will be of interest not only to academics working in the fields of law and public administration, but to policy-makers concerned with the contractualisation of public services. It also has wider implications for the regulation of other types of government contract, and should stimulatedebate among public lawyers on the neglected issue of 'government by contract'.

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Government by Internal Contract
Controversies and Reform
Accountability Mechanisms
NHS Contracts
The Role of Contracts in the Context
Accountability Relationships and Procedural
Making the Accountability Process Effective
Conclusions and Prospects

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About the author (2001)

Anne Davies is a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford

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