Policy Press

Publishing with a purpose

The new bureaucracy

Quality assurance and its critics

By Max Travers

Published

Apr 18, 2007

Page count

208 pages

ISBN

978-1861349279

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Policy Press

Published

Apr 18, 2007

Page count

208 pages

ISBN

978-1861349286

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Policy Press
The new bureaucracy

There has already been much discussion and critique of the New Public Management, and the impact of auditing and inspection on professional work in schools, hospitals, local government and the police. This study, by a qualitative sociologist, uses interpretive methods to examine this new form of regulation from the inside.

Based on interviews with inspectors, quality assurance managers, and auditors, as well as with professionals struggling with red tape, it offers a critical and insightful account of organisational change. The author includes vivid accounts of how quality assurance procedures and systems work in practice, conveying a sense of what is practically involved in the work of counting, measuring and managing quality, and the everyday frustrations of professionals dealing with ever-increasing amounts of paper work and red tape.

This book should be essential reading for anyone concerned about the rise of this new bureaucracy and the contemporary state of the professions. It is intended to support courses on quality assurance and the New Public Management in public administration and management. It also provides an accessible introduction for students in socio-legal studies, sociology and social policy about the effects of neo-liberalism on public sector work.

"Travers presents an unbiased overview of the tension between professions and the state over the claim that quality improvement will result from quantitative measurement. The book has international implications for those who may be influenced by the optimistic assertions of quality assurance proponents but lack an understanding of the stresses that develop when quality assurance measures are implemented." Carolyn L. Wiener, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, University of California San Francisco, is the author of The Elusive Quest: Accountability in Hospitals

WIENER'S IS A TESTIMONIAL - MOVE BACK

"Quality assurance practices have grown rapidly since the early 1980s, touching every aspect of life in public organizations. This important book is the first to get inside this phenomenon and examines the practice of quality assurance as both an emergent occupation and as a form of regulation." Michael Power, Professor of Accounting, London School of Economics and Political Science

Max Travers is a lecturer in sociology at the University of Tasmania, Australia.

Introduction; Quality assurance as a new occupation; Professionals and quality; Audit and inspection; Organisations and accountability; The problem of red tape; Critical responses; Conclusion: learning to live with regulation.