Corcoran, M (2021) Finding the Eye of the Octopus: the Limits of Regulating Outsourced Offender Probation in England and Wales. Revue française de civilisation britannique (XXVI-2). ISSN 0248-9015

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This article discusses the constraints on, and conflicts over, the oversight and regulation of mixed public-private entities, using the part-privatisation of the probation service in England and Wales – a policy called Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) – as its case study. The article shows how TR embodied a policy and set of practices that effectively undermined both institutional and political forms of scrutiny. Actions informed by neoliberal political dogma effectively strained regulatory systems, and short circuited the most important dimension of accountability in a liberal democracy – accountability of ministers to parliament. Ironically, although TR was subject to extensive regulatory scrutiny, the article concludes that these mechanisms were controverted by ministerial disregard for rules, procedures or the advice of civil servants, demonstrating that regulatory structures struggle to trump willfully pursued but ill-advised policy.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this article and all relevant information can be found online at; Online ISSN - 2429-4373 Revue française de civilisation britannique est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.
Uncontrolled Keywords: marketisation, probation, neoliberalism, political accountability, executive power
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JX International law
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Political and Global Studies
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2021 16:21
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2021 16:21

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