The Changing Nature of Public Sector Governance: A quantitative review of distributed governance in Canada - Institute on Governance

The Changing Nature of Public Sector Governance: A quantitative review of distributed governance in Canada


2 minute read

By Samuel Wells with Karl Salgo

Key Concepts

  • Distributed governance – the devolution of public sector responsibilities to organizations with day-to-day independence from core government – is a predominant characteristic of contemporary public administration.
  • Distributed governance expenditures are a key indicator of the scope of distributed governance activity and account for the greatest portion of public sector spending in Canada.
  • Evidence suggests that distributed governance mechanisms are most commonly used for service delivery functions, and that increasing use is being made of partnerships with non-government entities.
  • Distributed governance raises distinctive issues for the public sector, notably with respect to the management of key risks – financial, operational, and reputational, as well as the risk of misalignment with overall government policy.
  • The devolution of responsibilities and authorities from core government appears to be a permanent feature of public sector governance.

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