Changes in Governmental Actions
Governments are being challenged to adapt to a more globalised world with information communication technologies transferring information within a few seconds, increasing obligations from multinational agreements, and multinational companies producing goods in one country and selling them in another. Each of the ways they serve people is affected - regulations, direct service provision, facilitating actions by others, and encouraging investment.
Regulations are affected by governance
The laws that governments adopt are affected by requirements from higher levels of government like the European Union – and the interactions between the different levels of government (vertical integration)[link to page on vertical integration]. For example, Irish laws and policies came about in response to the Water Framework Directive from the supranational European Commission. Further, these policies are implemented by regional and local authorities. So, many policy agendas are set at the European level rather than designed specifically for Ireland. While the EU sets the overall strategy and requirements, national governments are responsible for adopting and implementing their own laws and policies to comply with the EU Directives.
When national governments adopt laws and policies, sometimes they achieve the goals set out by the EU Directives, and sometimes they do not. In some cases, limited resources hinder full implementation. For example, Regional Authorities did not contribute significantly to regional development because they had very limited staff and budgets.
In other cases, lack of public support hinders full implementation. For example, the EU’s 2020 Climate & Energy Package includes targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase renewable energy use, and improve energy efficiency. Irish transport and residential emissions are still higher and large-scale reductions have not happened.
Changes in services provided by government
Governments are changing the way they serve their citizens – through privatization - where they pay private companies to do things (e.g. collecting rubbish) instead of providing the services directly. This means that they have less direct control about how things are done because the people doing the work are directly answerable to their own company instead of the government.
Even with this shift to outsourced services, governments still determine the services provided in several ways: contracts, funds, and accountability.
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