Government Digital: The Quest to Regain Public Trust. Dundurn. 2018.

While most of society is able to benefit from the technological advances associated with the information age and industrial revolutions, governments everywhere lag far behind the cutting edge. This is not simply a question of governments being slow to adopt modern technologies into their operations- although incidents like the federal Phoenix pay system fiasco demonstrate that this too continues to be a problem- but the principal issue of the age comes down to redefining the relationship between state and citizenry in light of the potential that comes with digital technologies. At the core of Newman’s work is his decision to treat P3s as examples of governance (sometimes called networked governance to avoid confusion with the use of the term simply to mean the act of governing). In a policy field characterized by governance, government is one of many partners who have a say in shaping and implementing policy. Government needs to lead the partnership, but cannot too overtly command, if networked arrangements are to succeed. Beginning from that insight, Newman chooses to evaluate two similar P3 projects. These are the transit lines connecting Vancouver, BC, and Sydney, Australia to their respective airports and nearby suburbs.  Vancouver’s Canada Line is often described as a public-policy success. The Sydney Airport Rail Link as a public-policy failure. Can governance failure in the latter case explain the difference in outcomes? Newman makes a strong case that it can.