Public services have been a target for reform in Western-style democracies for more than three decades. This volume documents and examines the case of School Business Managers (SBMs) as an example of a growing but scarcely-acknowledged phenomenon: the government-backed creation of new 'professions' within the public sector for groups of support workers not formally recognised as such.
The dawn of the millennium saw the beginning of an unprecedented professional project as the New Labour government set about the systematic creation of a pool of suitably skilled and qualified School Business Managers in England. The Government's stated purpose was to support educational leaders in meeting mounting public expectations for state schools in increasingly complex and challenging circumstances.Although the 'war stories' of lead professionals such as teachers and physicians in the context of reform have been extensively documented, the contribution of the army of less high-status professionals in public service institutions is poorly-understood.
Drawing on first-hand accounts of people involved in bringing the SBM professional project about, and those whose professional lives the project sought to target, the SBMs themselves, the book turns the spotlight on an under-recognised group. It explores the purposes and outcomes of the professionalization initiative, comparing the process to the professional projects of SBMs in other countries and to parallel projects within the health sector.