Outsourced Responsibilities and New Public Management: The Context of Swedish Crisis Management As Seen From County Administration Boards

November 2015 (VOL. 33, NO. 3)

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In this article, a storm named Hilde is the entry point for an exploration and analysis of the consequences of public sector reforms on the crisis management system in Sweden. We are particularly interested in reforms of decentralization, privatization, and the adoption of New Public Management (NPM) mechanisms. Empirically, we study the views of Civil Defence Directors at County Administration Boards (CABs). The 21 CABs represent the central government at the regional level and are required by law to coordinate crisis management between national agencies, municipalities, and private interests. Our empirical investigations indicate that the Defence Directors perceive and adapt to reforms differently depending on the size of CABs, thereby bringing to the fore critical matters of equivalence. It also appears as if the discretion that the reforms were supposed to provide for crisis management actors is severely hampered by NPM inspired regulations, competitive features, and instruments of control.