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Call for Participants: TED5 Conference

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European Group for Public Administration (EGPA)/The Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe (NISPAcee) Trans-European Dialogue

2-3 de Febrero de 2012, Budapest, Hungria

The politics of agency governance

Over the past three decades agencification has become part and parcel of the government machine in countries all around the world. Agencification refers to the creation of semi-autonomous agencies. These agencies operate at arms’ length of the government and are charged by the government to carry out all kinds of executive and regulatory tasks.

An important motive for agencification is the so-called logic of political credibil-ity (Majone, 2001). By creating an agency at arms’ length, politicians show their willingness to refrain from interference; the agency can thus carry out its tasks in an impartial and expert manner. In practice, however, we see that politicians keep on interfering and meddling with agencies (Pollitt, 2005). Moreover, many agency tasks are inherently po-litical because they involve the implementation of policies, decisions about allocation or distribution of scarce resources, and delivery of goods/services to citizens/voters.

There are many other ways in which politics and/or politicians (still) play a role in and around agencies. For example, agencies experience, at street-level, which policies work well and which do not. This information is necessary input for policy makers inside the government. However, this input is not always heard, processed or even appreciated by for example ministries. Therefore, some agencies have developed new ways to influence policy debates and development themselves; they become active participants in the political or policy debate (Verschuere, 2009). See for example the transnational networks of regulatory agencies, in which regulatory policies are shaped, outside of the influence sphere of national governments and politicians.

A third way in which politicians can exert influence on agencies is through their role in the design of agencies. In many countries, the decision to establish an agency requires a political decision, for instance legislation. Politicians can thus decide whether an agency is born, what its task will be, its legal form, governance structure, funding, and so on. Politicians may also decide who is appointed as CEO and/or member(s) of the board; political appointments are of course the ultimate way to influence agency functioning on a daily basis.

This conference will focus on aspects of politics in and around agencies in CEE and Western European countries. We invite speakers to discuss issues like:

•The appointment of agency CEOs and board members

•The influence of agencies on the political and/or policy debate

•The role of politics and politicians in the decision to create agencies

•The role of politics and politicians in the governance (steering, control) of agencies

Participants, who are interested to give a presentation on any of these topics or the theme of the conference, are invited to submit a short proposal to local organizer Gyorgy Hajnal (gyorgy.hajnal@externet.hu) before October 15th, 2011.

Format of the conference:

TED5, like the previous Trans-European Dialogues, is a focused, by-invitation meeting of 40-50 participants from Europe. Rather than formally presenting all attendees' papers the format centers around intense dialogue and discussions between the participants. The discussions will be structured into 2 to 4 sessions, each of which starting with a keynote presentation followed by participants' oral contributions reflecting on the key elements of their research.

Prior to the meeting, each participant will be asked to develop one or two brief (100-300 words long) propositions related to the key conference themes, and reflecting their own research interests and activities. After the TED5 event a selected set of partici-pants will be asked to submit a full conference paper for publication in a special issue of NISPAcee Journal of Public Administration and Policy.

Important deadlines:

October 31 2011: Acceptance of proposals

January 15 2012: Submission of attendees' propositions

January 31 2012: Finalization of program, circulation of attendees' propositions among participants

-Contacto: Gyorgy Hajnal

gyorgy.hajnal@externet.hu

http://ted-dialogues.org/ted5-budapest/

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