The Politics of Public Management: The HRDC Audit of Grants and Contributions


240 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-8805-8
DDC 354.9'2439'0971




Reviewed by Joseph Garcea

Joseph Garcea is a professor of political Studies at the University of


The Politics of Public Management provides a detailed explanation of
what most Canadians know as the HRDC scandal. The focus is on the ways
in which internal efforts to identity and address problems become
monumental political management problems.

The book consists of seven chapters. Chapter 1 provides an overview of
the multiple and often irreconcilable goals that confront political and
administrative officials on a daily basis, and create confusion and
crises in governance and public management. Chapter 2 offers an
interesting overview of the public-sector reforms that either directly
or indirectly contributed to the problems faced by HRDC. Chapter 3
examines the role of the media in shaping people’s understanding of
the nature, scope, and determinants of financial management problems in
the HRDC. Chapter 4 considers the efforts of HRDC management and staff
to manage the crisis. Chapter 5 focuses on the Job Fund Program, with a
special focus on the purposes and limits of public–private
partnerships, the role of parliamentarians, and the nature and utility
of program evaluation. Chapter 6 explores the implications of the HRDC
crisis for new public management, and particularly for the alignment of
roles and responsibilities between governmental and non-governmental
organizations. Chapter 7 presents thought-provoking suggestions on how
various governmental actors (e.g., the public service, the auditor
general, internal audit bureaus, ministers, and MPs) and the media can
ensure that they perform their respective functions more effectively
when dealing with comparable issues of public management in the future.

Laced with pearls of wisdom on issues and options in public management,
Good’s book is another one of those seminal works produced by a former
senior public servant. It should be read by everyone who has an interest
in good governance.


Good, David A., “The Politics of Public Management: The HRDC Audit of Grants and Contributions,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,