"Universities under New Labour – senior leaders' responses to government reforms and policy levers – findings from an ESRC project on public service leadership"
Prof Rosemary Deem, Dean of History and Social Sciences and Professor of Higher Education Management, RHUL
The presentation explores the extent to which leaders of six universities in England and their senior colleagues perceive themselves to be leading change in their institutions that is autonomous both from government and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (which funds and regulates public universities). The analysis draws on thirty interviews conducted in 2007 with senior leaders in six universities in England, twenty repeat interviews in 2008 and a small number of interviews conducted with current and former higher education policy makers in 2008. These interviews were part of a UK Economic and Social Research Council project (Award 000-23-1136) exploring perceptions and discourses of the New Labour government’s public service modernisation and reform programmes in health and education since 1997 (Newman 2001; Driver and Martell 2006). The project has contrasted hard policy mechanisms such as funding allocations and audit processes with ‘softer’ policy mechanisms and technologies such as government documents, ministerial emphases on the importance of leadership and the emergence under New Labour of national leadership development bodies in both health and education.