Research Reports

Public Service Decentralisation Governance Opportunities and Challenges identifies and analyses a number of key governance issues that are relevant to ‘decentralisation’ as a concept in public sector reform. It explores, particularly within the context of contemporary Irish experience, some of the key opportunities and challenges for effective leadership and collegiality in a geographically decentralised Irish civil and public service: areas which may have been comparatively neglected, in both research and policy terms, in the past but which demand further attention for effective implementation of current initiatives. The research draws upon:

  • An extensive review of national and international literature on civil/public service decentralisation, as well as effective leadership and positive collegiality in the commercial and non-commercial sectors.
  • In-depth discussions with those engaged, at a senior level, both in Ireland and elsewhere with developing and implementing decentralisation programmes.
  • In-depth discussions with the chief officers in a cross-section of Irish public bodies directly affected by the current programme, as well as senior trade union representatives and senior private sector managers.


In this regard, it must be stressed that the geographical decentralisation programme currently in hand for the Irish public service will have a direct and/or indirect impact not just on those specific bodies identified for decentralisation under the current programme but will have an impact across the public service as well as in other sectors. Indeed the changes that are afoot are of a scale and character that should lead to a fundamental recasting of the Irish system of public administration.

Public Service Decentralisation Governance Opportunities and Challenges

Public Service Decentralisation Governance Opportunities and Challenges identifies and analyses a number of key governance issues that are relevant to ‘decentralisation’ as a concept in public sector reform. It explores, particularly within the context of contemporary Irish experience, some of the key opportunities and challenges for effective leadership and collegiality in a geographically decentralised Irish civil and public service: areas which may have been comparatively neglected, in both research and policy terms, in the past but which demand further attention for effective implementation of current initiatives. The research draws upon:

  • An extensive review of national and international literature on civil/public service decentralisation, as well as effective leadership and positive collegiality in the commercial and non-commercial sectors.
  • In-depth discussions with those engaged, at a senior level, both in Ireland and elsewhere with developing and implementing decentralisation programmes.
  • In-depth discussions with the chief officers in a cross-section of Irish public bodies directly affected by the current programme, as well as senior trade union representatives and senior private sector managers.


In this regard, it must be stressed that the geographical decentralisation programme currently in hand for the Irish public service will have a direct and/or indirect impact not just on those specific bodies identified for decentralisation under the current programme but will have an impact across the public service as well as in other sectors. Indeed the changes that are afoot are of a scale and character that should lead to a fundamental recasting of the Irish system of public administration.

By: Peter C. Humphreys and Orla O’Donnell ISBN: 978-1-904541-40-0

Published: Thursday 02, March 2006.


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