Integrated Steering and Coordination of Local Public Services in Germany – Reasons and Restrictions of an Innovative Governance Approach

Benjamin Friedländer

Abstract


Due to the institutional differentiation of the public sector, which lead to a hardly comprehensible network of organisations from local administration, public economy and the third sector, the critical question of the importance of the integrated steering and coordination (ISC) of public tasks in municipalities arises in local government research and practice. Following an interdisciplinary approach, the aim of this contribution is (1) to examine the idea of the ISC of local public services from the perspective of policy science, New Public Management and public governance and (2) to identify – based on a qualitative empirical study – reasons and restrictions of its implementation. It is discussed why ISC is at the same time a feasible and guiding approach, but in part also a hardly practicable idea. With regard to this crucial controversy, five perspectives for further local public sector reforms are presented. From the perspective of innovative governance, the paper might help us to stimulate critical thinking about alternative approaches to problem solving and decision making in the public sector.

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