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TROUBLED HISTORY BEHIND NEW PUBLIC MANAGEMENT FORUM

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Various attempts to set up an organisation to represent public sector managers are examined in an article in The Ti...
Various attempts to set up an organisation to represent public sector managers are examined in an article in The Times (sect 3, p22).

The history of establishing such an organisation is one of 'long-running hatreds and all sorts of spite' according to one player who wishes to remain anonymous.

After the demise of the Royal Institute for Public Administration and its sale of the RIPA brand name to a commercial firm - Capita - two rival bids were embarked on to set up a body which could simultaneously represent managers in Whitehall, local government and the health service.

One was prepared by Noel Hepworth the director of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy on behalf of the Public Finance Foundation, and the other came from an informal grouping that included Michael Clark of the School of Public Policy at the University of Birmingham and Mike Fogden, chief executive of the Employment Services Agency.

During the summer, says The Times, a deal was stitched up and the Public Management Forum emerged.

The Times asks whether such a body can thrive given that many public managers belong to professional bodies more specific to their roles. Mr Hepworth says:

'At this stage we are not satisfied that the potential membership is such as to justify launching a completely new organisation with all the risk, financial and otherwise that that would entail.'

For now, the Strategic Planning Society are sponsoring the new forum and last week agreed a financial regime for it.

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