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Understanding policy success and failure in contemporary English higher education: a study of three policy episodes

Drobinski, Samantha (2019) Understanding policy success and failure in contemporary English higher education: a study of three policy episodes. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

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Higher education (HE) policy-making in England has features which make it distinctive. An intermediary body between government and institutions, under a number of guises, has endured since the first half of the twentieth century, informed by new liberalism reforms: the changing role of the state, marketisation and new public management, and is perhaps inimitable in having played a central role in policy-making. This thesis is a study of HE policy-making through analysis of the work of one intermediary body, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The thesis contextualises the policy work of HEFCE and its place in making and influencing policy. Three HEFCE policy episodes (e-University, CETLs and LLNs) are used to examine notions of policy success and failure. There is a tendency for policy to be seen as success or failure; this thesis aims to provide a more nuanced, less binary, approach, which captures more dimensions of success and failure. The thesis uses a framework, ‘three dimensions of policy success’ (McConnell 2010), to illuminate how policy success and failure can be understood on a spectrum. The thesis utilises the case studies to examine distinctions and commonalities of success and failure to yield insight and understanding in relation to policy learning. Five key themes arise from the analysis: enabling a strong coalition, trajectory of policy-making between policy-makers and implementers, approaches to policy sustainability, the role of monitoring and evaluation in ensuring value for money and the role of policy-makers in preserving policy goals. The contribution of the research is the application of a theoretical framework to articulate policy success and failure to the field of English HE, which has not hitherto been examined with this framework, and to articulate policy learning as a result.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Higher Education, Policy
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.781342
Depositing User: Dr Samantha Drobinski
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2019 10:06
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 20:08
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24497

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