Doctoral student writing

Policy and Management of Central and Local Government

  • School: Nottingham Business School
  • Starting: 2018
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Self-funded


The Public Management Group is interested in public management issues across the public sector at international, national, regional and local levels. The Central and Local Government Unit within the group, has a long standing interest in the performance management and financial sustainability of locally delivered public services (Murphy & Jones 2015, Steccolini, Jones & Saliterer 2017 Glennon et al 2017, Osbourne et al 2016).

With the challenge of continuing austerity and public service delivery increasingly embracing public, private and not for profit agencies as potential delivery partners, the performance management and financial sustainability of public organisations and services is becoming increasingly complex. Similarly, devolution in the UK has generated alternative approaches in different parts of the UK and there are significant differences emerging between different public services and within sectors.

The Central and Local Government team, have recently been assessing the financial and organisational resilience of local government across different national jurisdictions both in response to the current era of austerity but also in the post-recession long term (Steccolini and Jones 2014).  They have also been looking at scrutiny and public assurance arrangements across locally delivered services including Local Government Services (Murphy and Jones 2016).

This project provides an opportunity to contribute to an important, practical and dynamic research environment that seeks to ensure that the public money is appropriately spent and the public receive the level and quality of services they are entitled to expect in a modern democratic society.

The objectives of the study are to:

  • Investigate and document the current arrangements for governance and performance management in locally delivered public services in the UK.
  • Develop an evaluation framework or diagnostic schema for assessing the current arrangements.
  • Identify, (both generic and sector specific) tools, techniques, systems and processes that have been effective in strategic interventions when appropriately applied to improve local service delivery.
  • Generate recommendations for the design and implementation of future performance management regimes.

The study is likely to use a mixed methods approach involving both quantative and qualitative research. It should benefit from access to a number of existing national and locally held databases. The research team have also benefitted in the past from close co-operation with several key stakeholders such as the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, the National Audit Office, the Local Government Association, and the Centre for Public Scrutiny.


Benington, J. & Moore, M H. 2011. Public Value: Theory and Practice Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Denhardt, J V. and Denhardt, R B. 2015. The New Public Service: Serving not Steering 4th Edition New York: Routledge.
Glennon, R., Hodgkinson, I., Knowles, J., Radnor, Z. and Bateman, N., 2017. Public sector 'modernisation': examining the impact of a change agenda on local government employees in England. Australian Journal of Public Administration.
Hood, C. 2010. Accountability and Transparency: Siamese twins, matching parts, awkward couple? West European Politics, 33 (5): 989-1009.
Joyce, P. 2015. Strategic Management in the Public Sector 2nd Edition Abingdon Routledge.
Joyce, P. and Drumaux A 2014 Strategic Management in Public Organizations: European Practices and Perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge.
Mackie, R. 2013 Managing Scotland’s Public Services Edinburgh W Green
MURPHY, P. and JONES, M., 2016. Building the next model for intervention and turnaround in poorly performing local authorities in England. Local Government Studies, 42 (5), pp. 698-716.
Murphy, P., 2014. The development of the strategic state and the performance management of local authorities in England. In: P. Joyce and A. Drumaux, eds., Strategic management in public organizations: European practices and perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge, 2014, pp. 243-255.
OSBORNE, S., RADNOR, Z. and GLENNON, R., 2016. Public management theory. In: C. ANSELL and J. TORFING, eds., Handbook on theories of governance. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 46-60
Steccolini, I. and Jones, M., 2014. UK municipalities’ financial resilience in the face of austerity: facing crises and looking ahead. In: EGPA Annual Conference, PSG XII Public Sector Financial Management, Speyer, Germany, 8-12 September 2014.


Dr Russ Glennon

Professor Peter Murphy

Entry qualifications

An applicant for admission to read for a PhD should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree of a UK university or an equivalent qualification, or a lower second class honours degree with a Master's degree at Merit level of a UK university or an equivalent qualification.

International students will also need to meet the English language requirements - IELTS 6.5 (with minimum sub-scores of 6.0). Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university are normally exempt from the English language requirements. A research proposal (between 1,000 and a maximum of 2,000 words) must be submitted as part of the application.

For more information please visit the NTU Doctoral School – Research Degrees webpages.

How to apply

How to apply

Applications are accepted all year round.

Download an application form here.
Please make sure you take a look at our application guidance notes before making your application.

Further information on how to apply can be found on this page.

Fees and funding

This is a self-funded PhD opportunity.

Guidance and support

Further information on guidance and support can be found on this page.

Still need help?

Russ Glennon