The last session of the NISPAcee Conference on Saturday afternoon came back to the Conference theme of Public Administration of the Future - with a slightly over-the-top intro to Professor Bouckaert, suggesting that governments listened to him and acted upon his advice. Netherlands may, of course, be an exceptional case – but the sad reality is that few public admin scholars even see government as an audience. There is the odd occasion when a Ministry does commission some scholars – Finland did it in the early 2000s and Denmark also.
It would be great to see a paper from some academics which tried to summarise the lessons from the last 20 years of frenetic administrative reforms in a way which made sense for political leaders in central europe (let alone Western) eg a presentation for junior Ministers. Even more helpful would be an advice note on how they should handle the latest recommendations from management consultants! I have actually never read such a paper. Chris Pollitt’s stimulating 2004 paper on Buying and Borrowing Public Management Refoms is as close as I can get to such a paper. In 2006 he actually addressed the issue of consultancy - but from a rather shamefaced point of view"Academic Consultancy What is its nature, place, value within academia?" The paper is useful, however, in separating out eight possible roles which academics can usefully play - including "court jester" and "sparring partner". And Chris Pollitt is the guy who actually produced, in 2003, a book written for officials - The Essential Public Manager.
Even a literature review could be useful but the PAR literature now is so vast that noone (to my knowledge) has attempted it – although there are useful literature reviews on more specialist areas such as anti-corruption work (many); performance management etc.
One of the best policy analysts was Aaron Wildavsky who actually made the budgetary process a sexy topic - and gathered his various papers together in the late 1970ss in a book called "Speaking Truth to Power". It's time for this tradition to be reborn!