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the reform of planning practice and the practice of planning reform in english central government n.
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Dr Olivier Sykes / Prof. Graham Haughton / Dr. David Dolowitz / John Healey MP PowerPoint Presentation
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Dr Olivier Sykes / Prof. Graham Haughton / Dr. David Dolowitz / John Healey MP

Dr Olivier Sykes / Prof. Graham Haughton / Dr. David Dolowitz / John Healey MP

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Dr Olivier Sykes / Prof. Graham Haughton / Dr. David Dolowitz / John Healey MP

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  1. The Reform of Planning Practice, and the Practice of Planning Reform, in English Central Government What do the ‘everyday’ practices of planning during the 2012-2014 National Planning Practice Guidance Review tell us about the dynamics of planning reform in English central government? Part 1: Untangling and Re-tangling the Coalition Government’s Planning Reforms Daniel J. Slade Dr Olivier Sykes / Prof. Graham Haughton / Dr. David Dolowitz / John Healey MP

  2. Outline Project Summary • Why is planning practice at the national level so under-researched? • The ‘Taylor Review’ • 'Summarising the conceptual framework • Untangling and ‘Re-tangling’; The reform of practice and practice of reform Early Findings • This presentation's focus: The framework in action and early findings. • Exploring policy contradiction, everyday practice and emergent properties in the English planning system • Summary

  3. There is strangely little research into planning practice in central government

  4. This is odd because: • UK planning system remains highly centralised despite academic fashion and political rhetoric to the contrary. • Recent neoliberal reforms are ‘quintessentially’ driven by, and particularly concentrated at, the level of the state. However, studies of ‘actually existing’ neoliberalisation rarely focus on the practices which constitute it at this level. • Unlike the local and regional levels, planning practice at the national level in general remains treated as a ‘hollow container’ or ‘black box’ and abstracted notions of process are relied on. This also means that contexts specific to the national level of practice(and therefore the rest) remain unexplored. There is a range of possible reasons.

  5. “Perhaps it is time for students of planning to subject this scale of planning to the same sort of attention frequently given to the local or city regional levels, in an attempt to put forward more effective models which might fit better the coming decades.” (Marshall, 2011)

  6. Aim: “To explore the key characteristics of planning and ‘planning practice’ in English central government and examine how these characteristics shape and are shaped by existing structuring/re-structuring institutional and discursive forces, in the context of recent waves of reforms and the longer term process of restructuring these reforms relate to.”

  7. A very brief summary of the ‘Taylor Review’ • National Planning Practice Guidance Review 2012-2014 (though ideas earlier). Owned by DCLG, though (semi) external Review Group. • Guidance provides normative and technical advice to LPAs on how to implement national policy. It constitutes a material consideration in planning decisions (almost policy!). • Aim of PGGR was to consolidate an overly-complex suite of guidance, as framed by classically neoliberal rhetoric (‘brake on growth’…) This did received extremely widespread support from sector, in principle, however. • Excellent case study: Cross-cutting and bridges various spheres, modifies implementation of recent reforms according to perceived successes/failures, introduces new techniques/practices/relationships for first time at local level and in DCLG, and embodies much of the Coalition’s approach to reform… and there’s no writing on the subject yet!

  8. PRACTICE THEORY DISCURSIVE INSTITUTIONALISM Summary of the conceptual framework • Practice are more than ‘work’: ‘specific configurations of action, norms and knowledge’ (Wagenaar & Cook 2003); a certain mode of engagement with the social world and way of creating meaning (similar to phronesis) • Practice is generative – knowledge and context are artefacts of practice rather than vice versa. So can be discourses and the public sphere. • Habitus: Internalised external structures which shape and enable preconscious action through dispositions – a ‘conductorless orchestra’. • You can’t ‘read off’ change from the top… Institutions are bundles of everyday practices which remain more or less stable over time - this is because they determine practices whilst being comprised of them. This is via ‘structuration’ through rule, ideational, materialresources, carried by habitus. Deals with institutional change better than the ‘new institutionalisms’ via foreground (deliberation and legitimation) and background discursive abilities. Interplays between different levels of understanding (practice to (neoliberal) discourse) and the level of practice. These are spatial (Healey). Planning Practice and Reform in English Central Government

  9. ACTUALLY EXISTING NEOLIBERALSIM INTERPRETIVE POLICY ANALYSIS Neoliberalism is an ‘operational logic’ rather than a monolithic force. Therefore its nature is completely dependant upon local institutional contexts – it is “systematically variegated” across time and space. Conflict and contradiction is characteristic. Heuristic for linking practices to wider/’higher’ discursive & temporal planning contexts which fit. … and provides sensitising concepts which help with these inquiries… Subfield of policy analysis – variety of approaches which share some core similarities. They studies the “political and institutional dynamics of policymaking processes, and the complexities of policy in interaction with life-worlds” (Healey, 2011). Emphasise Civil Service institutional and cultural context critical to understanding policy work in central government (e.g. relationships with ministers, onset of eGovernance, everyday routines such as the write-round process). Planning Practice and Reform in English Central Government

  10. Project Summary PART III: ‘DYNAMICS’Theorises the relationship a between processes identified in parts 1 & 2, and the key drivers of change identified. PART I: ‘STRUCTURE’Assesses the key ‘everyday’ discursive, programmatic, and institutional forces shaping planning in Central Government and the Guidance Review within the context of ongoing reform. PART II: ‘AGENCY’ Explores how the key structural characteristics previously outlined directly and indirectly shape planning practice in central government, and how these practices in turn shape the structural forces which act upon them – or create new structures.

  11. The reform of practice / the practice of reform Un-tangling / Re-tangling

  12. This part… Aims to demonstrate: • The ongoing importance of studying everyday practices at national level for understanding wider and longer-term systemchanges, and benefits of the conceptual framework developed to studying planning reform at this level. This talk focuses on: • How concurrent neoliberal reform programmes’ allocative structures interact in Civil Servants’ everyday practices (rather than how they do so subsequently - e.g. through sedimentation), and explores what the wider consequences of these are for the system as a whole. • A critical reading of various official documents, personal experience, literature review, policy review and early scoping work. • Several separate ‘vignettes’ drawn from the research which demonstrate the above.

  13. THE ENTANGLEMENT OF PROGRAMMES from the perspective of the Guidance Review CORE HOUSING & PLANNING REFORMS The Localism Act THE GROWTH AGENDA Red Tape Challenge ‘Libertarian Paternalism’ and ‘nudge’ theory. MANAGERIAL-ISM NPPF CIVIL SERVICE REFORM HS Review e-Governance LOCALISM New Technology and Analysis Techniques Increasing power of core executive Open Government Data policy NEOLIBERALISM looming in the background

  14. CORE HOUSING & PLANNING REFORMS The Localism Act • CORE PLANNING REFORMS • The Review and framework provide an excellent opportunity to explore how different programmes which constitute different parts of the same wave of neoliberalisation, ostensibly trying to achieve similar ends within different systems, interact through the practices of agents working in DCLG (often badly!) – and what the consequences of these are the wider system. • Interpretive Policy Analysis, Practice Theory, Actually Existing and Discursive Institutionalism help this endeavour. • Very broad example to begin with: Setting scope of reviews in relation to workloads. NPPF HS Review

  15. CORE HOUSING & PLANNING REFORMS The Localism Act THE GROWTH AGENDA Red Tape Challenge ‘Libertarian Paternalism’ and ‘nudge’ theory. MANAGERIAL-ISM NPPF CIVIL SERVICE REFORM HS Review e-Governance LOCALISM New Technology and Analysis Techniques Increasing power of core executive Open Government Data policy

  16. CLASHES BETWEEN DIFFERENT DEREGULATORY EFFORTS • Red Tape Challenge (RTC) and Housing Standards Review (HSR) parallels, with ostensibly the same aim. • ‘OITO’ : one-in-two out. Key feature of RTC and arbitrary cross-cutting rule, the aim of which is to reduce ‘regulatory’ burdens across government. • OITO clashed with simplifyingregulatory proposals put forwards as preferred by HSR and Guidance Review. • HSR preferred options changed, future regulatory structure heavily impacted. Also impacted Guidance Review… and government berated for excessive ‘red tape’! Red Tape Challenge MANAGERIAL-ISM CIVIL SERVICE REFORM Increasing power of core executive

  17. CIVIL SERVICE REFORM DIRECTLY AFFECTED THE REVIEW • Tensions between roles demanded by Civil Service Reforms and Planning (traditionally) lead to concrete changes in planning policy. • Fluidity and dynamism encouraged, this results in ‘churn’ of employees. Recent evidence of this at various levels in public sector. • Other related phenomena include increasing reliance on consultants and growing strength of ministers (and a more supportive role for Civil Servants). • Examples: Erosion of institutional memory within Guidance Review since NPPF. Also loss of knowledge for niche subjects like CPOs. Red Tape Challenge MANAGERIAL-ISM CIVIL SERVICE REFORM Increasing power of core executive

  18. CORE HOUSING & PLANNING REFORMS The Localism Act THE GROWTH AGENDA Red Tape Challenge ‘Libertarian Paternalism’ and ‘nudge’ theory. MANAGERIAL-ISM NPPF CIVIL SERVICE REFORM HS Review e-Governance LOCALISM New Technology and Analysis Techniques Increasing power of core executive Open Government Data policy

  19. THE GROWTH AGENDA • CLASHES BETWEEN THE LOCALISM AND GROWTH AGENDAS • Much of the Review defined by these two areas of policy. • Tendencies towards centralisation and decentralisation clash. • Attempts to resolve tensions with ‘Libertarian Paternalism’ (nudge theory!). • Example: Housing market assessments, and the Treasury’s involvement during the write-round process overriding debate. ‘Libertarian Paternalism’ and ‘nudge’ theory. LOCALISM

  20. CORE HOUSING & PLANNING REFORMS The Localism Act THE GROWTH AGENDA Red Tape Challenge ‘Libertarian Paternalism’ and ‘nudge’ theory. MANAGERIAL-ISM NPPF CIVIL SERVICE REFORM HS Review e-Governance LOCALISM New Technology and Analysis Techniques Increasing power of core executive Open Government Data policy

  21. E-GOVERNANCE • Guidance suite online: Hyperlinked, malleable, mobile, commenting easy - apragmatic solution recommended by the Review panel, it fulfilled various agendas including ‘digital by default’ and ‘open source planning’. • Beta phase rather than consultation? Demonstrates gap between legislation and use of technology. • Changing local access and use – consultation suggested local groups my find access difficult (particularly neighbourhood groups!) • Instant updating may make policymaking fundamentally more fluid. e-Governance New Technology and Analysis Techniques Open Government Data policy

  22. Early findings • Interstitial or ‘fuzzy’ spaces between programmes are caused by inherently contradictory tendencies characteristic of neoliberalplanning reforms (either within national level, or any other). These relate to clashing ‘allocative structures’. • Fuzzy spaces and their freedom from direct structuring forces, produce interstitial ‘discretionary spaces’, which amplify the agential force of actors working in central government. This reflects findings at the local level (Allmendinger & Haughton, 2013). • The everyday actions of agents working in these spaces can produce new ‘emergent’ system properties which go on to shape structures, in unplanned and unexpected ways. These feed back into the process. • This points to the fact that, in order to understand the systems shaping the reform process, an agent and practice-focused approach in required, and in such a centralised system the national level of practice is vital (even if it isn’t ‘planning’ as such, and some of the most important contexts aren’t ‘planning’!)

  23. … continued • This is not to say that planning at the national level is too context-specific and chaotic to theorise or generalise. This framework points to the relatively orderly production of chaotic moments which amplify the actions of individual agents. This needs to be addressed theoretically through the prism of planning theory, as it has been in many ways at the local level. • It also shows the strengths and needs for the framework and case study: • Neoliberalism = context and logics for reform and decision making • Practice theory = practice as generative, the mundane as valuable • Interpretive policy analysis = un-bordered contexts, the significance of Whitehall • Discursive institutionalism = the conceptual glue

  24. Thanks! Daniel J. Slade Twitter: @_Dslade2 Email: d.slade@Liverpool.ac.uk LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/danielslade Dr Olivier Sykes / Prof. Graham Haughton / Dr. David Dolowitz / John Healey MP