Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Between 1979 and 1997, successive Conservative governments sought to reduce the scale of public sector activity and to introduce competition in the provision of public sector services. A central feature of this policy was the introduction of compulsory competitive tendering (CCT). CCT was initially confined to blue collar services but, by means of the Local Government Act 1992, it was extended to white collar, professional services, including financial services. However, though potentially extremely significant, the support for and implications of such a policy are issues which have been inadequately researched. Because of this, research has been under-taken into financial services CCT and has included a questionnaire survey of 300 professionally qualified accountants employed in 17 local authorities in the North West of England, drawn from county councils, district councils and metropolitan authorities. The article presents the findings of the survey, with a particular focus on the views of accountants on CCT in general and financial services CCT in particular. In addition, it provides evidence that the CCT process, irrespective of views on CCT and its appropriateness for specific activities, has changed culture and attitudes in the case of local government finance professionals.
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