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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in mathematically structured programming, similarity and metric search, computer security, software systems, combinatronics and digital health.

The Department also includes the iSchool Research Group, which performs leading research into socio-technical phenomena and topics such as information retrieval and information seeking behaviour.

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Regulating public bodies: the case of direct service organisations in British local government

Ashworth, Rachel and Boyne, George A. and McGarvey, Neil and Walker, Richard M. (2002) Regulating public bodies: the case of direct service organisations in British local government. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 20 (3). pp. 455-470. ISSN 1472-3425

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Abstract

In recent years regulatory mechanisms and arrangements for public service organisations have become increasingly complex. In this paper we develop a theoretical framework that emphasises the potential importance of the following regulatory problems: regulatee resistance, ritualistic compliance, regulatory capture, performance ambiguity, and absence of performance data. This framework is applied to arrangements for the regulation of direct labour and direct service organisations in Scotland and Wales prior to the 'Best Value' regime. The results support the practical relevance of the analytical framework. Furthermore, whereas conventional perspectives suggest that the source of regulatory problems is the behaviour of regulatees, our evidence shows that the behaviour of regulators can also lead to regulatory failure; for example, through ritualistic compliance with procedures. The evidence also reveals a previously unidentified problem concerning a 'fear of regulation' on the part of regulators.