A systems approach to public sector budgeting: the case of the planning, programming, budgeting system for the health and personal social services

  • Terrence Smalley

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The aim of this thesis is to examine the specific contextual factors affecting the applicability and development of the planning, programming, budgeting system (P.P.B.S.) as a systems approach to
public sector budgeting. The concept of P.P.B.S. as a systems approach to public sector budgeting will first be developed and the preliminary hypothesis that general contextual factors may be classified under political, structural and cognitive headings will
be put forward. This preliminary hypothesis will be developed and refined using American and early British experience. The refined hypothesis will then be tested in detail in the case of the English
health and personal social services (H.P.S.S.), The reasons for this focus are that it is the most recent, the sole remaining, and the most significant example in British central government outside of defence, and is fairly representative of non-defence
government programme areas. The method of data collection relies on the examination of unpublished and difficult to obtain central government, health and local authority documents, and interviews with senior civil servants and public officials. The conclusion will be that the political constraints on, or factors affecting P.P.B.S., vary with product characteristics and cultural imperatives on pluralistic decision-making; that structural constraints vary with
the degree of coincidence of programme and organisation structure and with the degree of controllability of the organisation; and finally, that cognitive constraints vary according to product
characteristics, organisational responsibilities, and analytical effort.
Date of Award1979
Original languageEnglish


  • p.p.b.s.
  • health
  • systems approach

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