This review is then used to arrive at the research objectives. The methods to be adopted to complete the research are discussed and laid out.
This research is proposed to be limited to those areas of public sector enterprise where there is a direct interface between the enterprise and the public - the customers. The public sector provides an array of services such as housing, healthcare, policing, fire-fighting, water and sewage, national security and so on. While some initiatives have been taken to privatise some of these services, some, like healthcare remain within the ambit of public sector operation. We may consider approaching this subject from two sides. The first being from within the organisation, to understand the adoption of quality systems/ models, and the perceived effects and benefits to the organisation in terms of efficiency, productivity and costs. The second approach could be to research the quality systems and models adopted by the public sector and assess the impact these have had on the service user public.
This proposal aims at adopting the latter approach. The importance of public opinion has been advocated as an important criterion to judge the impact of initiatives of the public sector in different policy documents (). Thus, in principle, this research will be divided into two parts:
A. An appraisal of quality systems and models adopted by the selected public sector
B. Collection, collation and analysis of public views of the impact of these initiatives.
It is understood that, for this research to be meaningful, the information to be gathered must be scientifically defensible and actionable by the relevant policy makers and conclusive enough to convince the decision makers to use it.
The conservative party's victory in1979 was based on a manifesto that, among others, promised to 'roll back the State'. The party saw the welfare state as being morally indefensible because it promoted a culture of dependency, inefficiency and bureaucracy (Ahmad & Broussine, 2003). Accordingly, the government concentrated on the privatisation of state-owned industries and utilities and the deregulation of the financial services sector. Attention was then turned to apply the principles of modern management, as practiced in the private sector, to health, education and social care (Barlett et al., 1994). The response of public services to these pressures and changes were characterized as managerialist (Hood, 1991) and neo-Taylorist (Pollitt, 1993). Operations of the public sector have been criticised for their limited attitude toward target-setting and performance measurement (Hood, 1991). Pollitt (1993) noted that efforts for application of scientific management principles were the main drivers of change sought to be brought in by the public services in their response to the new challenges. Pollitt (1993) argued that the public sector considered the application of these principles as the panacea for all the ills that besieged them. However Clarke et al. (1994) argued against these concepts and noted that the changes 'represented a deeper ideological process that was transforming power relationships, culture, control and accountability' (ibid).
The New Labour government was elected in May 1997. Its