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4 - Risk and government

The architectonics of blame-avoidance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Layla Skinns
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Michael Scott
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Tony Cox
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

Puzzling over gaps between practice and declared principles in government and public services

It is often said that high officeholders in government, both elected and appointed, live chronically time-pressured lives with many urgent and competing claims crowding in on their limited time and attention. Such individuals often, indeed routinely, declare that they want to focus on the big picture and on the pursuit of their grand visions, and that they are mainly concerned with achieving results that bring substantive social value rather than with small-print details of process and structure or with the trivialities of day-to-day media gossip.

Yet careful analysis of how those high-level officeholders in government use their limited time often reveals that they spend a remarkably large proportion of it – 50 per cent or more, on some estimates – on matters of media presentation and that they often devote a surprising amount of their time as well to small-print details of legislation and government organisation.

Type
Chapter
Information
Risk , pp. 62 - 84
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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2005

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