Centre of Government: Implementing joined up government in Iceland

Pétur Berg Matthíasson


Centre of Government refers to the institution or group of institutions that provide direct support to the country’s chief executive, generally for the political and technical coordination of government actions, strategic planning, performance monitoring, and communication of the government’s decisions and achievements. Recent studies of centres of government literature suggest that states are empowering units like that to ensure stronger central coordination when facing crosscutting and wicked policy issues. In addition to that, previous waves of government reforms have decentralized decision-making and implementation authority to autonomous or quasi-autonomous agencies forcing states to regain control and increase coordination. The first part of this article discusses the role, tasks and the organisational setup of centres of governments and compares the unit in Iceland to the Nordic countries. The second part focuses on the transformation from New Public Management (NPM) to Joint up Government as well as examining theories on the enhancement of centres of government. The last part follows the transformation of the centre of government in Iceland, examining the circumstances and explaining the development within the Office of the Prime Ministers since 2003. The analysis indicates that the centre of government in Iceland has come a long way in recent years and is following the models of countries that implemented new public management during the 80s and 90s.


Centre of government; new public management; joined up government; coordination; monitoring.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2019.15.2.1


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