Governments increasingly see partnerships as their delivery instrument of choice. There is disagreement, however, about how the proliferation of these institutions should be understood. One interpretation sees ungovernability, instability and unaccountability in the fragmented institutions of local governance. Another maintains that the new approaches to co-ordination have allowed for the reassertion of hierarchical control. On the basis of a theoretical exposition of the logic of co-ordination and a study of 10 partnerships in Wales, this paper presents evidence which suggests that partnerships suffer principally from the dysfunctional effects of hierarchical and market co-ordination.
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