Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
In this entry, the concept of “agencies” is defined, and a short review of its history and relevance for public administration practice is provided. Finally, some key issues that have emerged from the evergrowing literature on this topic will be discussed. Agencies are the organizational emanation of administrative decentralization in the public sector by which large monolithic core departmental bureaucracies are “unbundled” into smaller executive organizations that operate at a distance from the center of government. There are many descriptions of the administrative species “agency” in the international literature, such as “nondepartmental public bodies,” “quangos,” “nonmajoritarian institutions,” “quasi-autonomous public bodies,” and “arm's-length agencies,” only to name some. For reasons of clarity, the term agency will be used throughout this entry. There is, however, a variation in the interpretation of the concept “agency” in different countries. Some argue that what an agency is, and what functions it does, may vary Although ...