Partnership Governance and Democratic Effectiveness: Community Leaders and Public Managers as Dual Intermediaries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



The design and evaluation of partnerships delivering public policy goals
should consider questions of democratic performance as much as matters of
service delivery. The flexibility afforded to partnership working places a
premium on managerial action loosely coupled to political oversight. Yet the
goals of partnerships are inherently political choices in which the public
interest should be represented. This article examines the way in which
community leaders and public managers impact on the democratic
performance of partnerships. We conceptualize community leaders and public
managers as ‘dual intermediaries’ between the formal institutional design of
partnership governance and its wider political constituency of citizens, service
users and stakeholders. We build on three partnership design archetypes –
club, agency and polity – identified in previous research, and theorize how
these might be expected to shape the roles of community leaders and public
managers. The article concludes by drawing out implications for the theory
and practice of partnership working.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-79
Number of pages19
JournalPublic Policy and Administration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008