Urban Service Partnerships, ‘Street-Level Bureaucrats’ and Environmental Sanitation in Kumasi and Accra, Ghana: Coping with Organisational Change in the Public Bureaucracy


  • Richard Crook,

    1. Emeka Anyaoku Professor of Commonwealth Studies, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, London, WC1B 5DS (richard.crook@sas.ac.uk)
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  • Joseph Ayee

    1. Professor/Dean, Faculty of Social Studies, University of Ghana and Director of CEPRESE, Ghana.
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    • They are grateful to the Centre for the Future State, Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK and to the UK Department for International Development for the funding and support which made this research possible. The views expressed are those of the authors alone.


This is an empirical case study of ‘street-level’ officials in a classic ‘regulatory’ public agency: the Environmental Health Department in Kumasi and Accra, Ghana, where privatisation and contracting-out of sanitary services have imposed new ways of working on Environmental Health Officers. Both internal and external organisational relationships are analysed to explain the extent to which these officers have adapted to more ‘client-oriented’ ways of working. Their positive organizational culture is credited with much of the positive results achieved, but was not sufficient to cope with the negative impact of politically protected privatisations on the officials' ability to enforce standards. Nor could it entirely overcome the deficiencies in training and incentive structures which should have accompanied the changes in service delivery.