What is it about?

Fundamental changes in the organization and administration of the Australian public service (APS) have emerged as a response to a philosophical drive for more efficient, effective and accountable public services. They have been accompanied by a reluctance to raise taxes to support the universal provision of services to citizens and by a belief in the user pays principle. The term new public management has been coined to characterize these reforms in which accountability has been largely redefined in terms of performance based on indicators derived from management and accounting technologies imported from the private sector. At the heart of the discrepancy between promises and outcomes appears to be the fiction that private-sector governance, accounting, auditing, and accountability models are universally applicable in the public sector. There are also growing criticisms of accounting and reporting reforms that have underpinned the move from a cash-based to an accrual-based management and reporting system. There is evidence that treasury departments are moving to develop new accounting and reporting technologies. Any move away from an exclusive reliance on accrual accounting would also be expected to affect management, control and accountability practices in the public sector in the longer term.

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This page is a summary of: A Review of New Public Financial Management Change in Australia, Australian Accounting Review, November 2003, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/j.1835-2561.2003.tb00266.x.
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