Planning analysis and political steering with New Public Management

Publisher's full text

Interviews with members of the Norwegian national assembly's Standing Committee for Transport and Communications were conducted in 1995, 1997, 2001 and 2004. The politicians were asked about the usefulness of analytic input that planners contribute to national plans, first the Norwegian Road and Road Traffic Plan and later the National Transport Plan. Questions related to steering, coordination, delegation and the inclusiveness of the planning process were also posed. Changes in the politicians' attitudes to types of analytic planning input are outlined. Furthermore, the last round of interviews sheds light on the apparent paradox that parliamentarians accept delegation of highway investment decisions despite their profound scepticism regarding the cost–benefit analyses and impact calculations that are essential to management by objectives and results (MBOR), which was to give them continued political control despite delegation. Another conundrum is the parliamentarians' willingness to renounce the right to decide over most highway projects, even if these were seen as politically important, in order to obtain a strategic overview which they have been unable to use for changing the priorities set by the Government. The political concentration on strategic steering, the concomitant delegation, and MBOR are central components of New Public Management.

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