Modernised Policy Making? Investigating the Development of the 2009 Migration Impact Fund

Formosa, Paul J. (2016) Modernised Policy Making? Investigating the Development of the 2009 Migration Impact Fund. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


This thesis investigates the nature and effectiveness of the New Labour government’s attempt to modernise policy making in Britain. This government had developed and sought to implement a new concept of modernised policymaking, claiming that it represented a significant advance on previous efforts to transform policymaking. The principles, logic and ambition of this new form of modernised policymaking were set out clearly in a number of government publications (Cabinet Office, 1999a; Cabinet Office, 1999b). The objectives of this study are, firstly, to explore and assess the nature of this new concept of policy making, contextualising its claims by reference to the long history of debates about policy-making and modernisation in Britain. Secondly, it will investigate the use of this new form of policy making through a case study. The data collected will be subjected to a detailed analysis to assess the extent to which the development of the 2009 Migration Impact Fund constituted an example of modernised policy making, as conceived by the New Labour government. The ideas contained in the Asymmetrical Power model advanced by Marsh (2003) are used to inform the understanding of the policy setting in which the case occurred.

To construct the case study, multiple methods of data collection are used to form a thick narrative that covers a five-year period. This narrative begins with the policy making that took place in anticipation of new migration in the lead up to the enactment of the 2003 Treaty of Accession and culminates in an explanation of how the 2009 Migration Impact Fund was designed and implemented. The case study is then subjected to a detailed analysis designed to generate precise data about the extent to which the nine features of modernised policy making are present; how modernised policy making presents at different points in the case; the extent to which the features of modernised policy making operated synergistically; and the different explanations for the policy making that was observed in the case study. These are used to then come to a statement as to whether policy making in this case was completely modernised; significantly modernised; not particularly modernised; or not modernised.

The investigation found that policy making in this case was not particularly modernised. This was so because although all elements of modernised policy making was observed to be consistently present throughout the case, directive and bargaining based policy making were predominant at all crucial points rather than modernised policy making. The investigation showed that policy making operated, for better or worse, in a traditional way with core government’s commitment to increased labour mobility around Europe shaping the response of policy makers. As well, the investigation raised questions about how we may research and come to understand the impact of modernisation reforms when looking at policy making with a high level of detail. This is because the modernised policy making observed was not identified to be a direct result of the Modernising Government reforms, something that calls for further research to better ascertain the basis of choices made by policy makers.

Overall, the case study findings confirm the predominant conclusions about New Labour’s efforts to modernise policy making (see for example Massey & Pyper, 2005; Newman, 2005). This is that there was a distinct gap between the rhetoric and practice of policymaking in this period which fundamentally served to continue the advance of business orientated approaches to public administration within the traditional political context of British policy making.

FormosaPaul - PhD Full thesis.pdf - Published Version

Download (2MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Downloads each year

View Item View Item