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A ‘panoptical’ or ‘synoptical’ approach to monitoring performance? Local public services in England and the widening accountability gap

Eckersley, P.; Ferry, L.; Zakaria, Z.

A ‘panoptical’ or ‘synoptical’ approach to monitoring performance? Local public services in England and the widening accountability gap Thumbnail


Authors

P. Eckersley

Z. Zakaria



Abstract

This article highlights how recent reforms to the auditing and assessment of local public services in England suggest there will be a shift from panoptical to ‘synoptical’ monitoring approaches. This is because the UK Government has abolished its centralised monitoring regime and instead required local authorities to publish a range of financial and performance datasets online, ostensibly so that citizens can hold organisations to account directly. However, the complexity and raw nature of these data, along with the sidelining of professional auditors, will result in most citizens being either unable or unwilling to undertake this task. As such, the proposed ‘synoptical’ approach will not materialise. Indeed, other legislative changes will mean that outsourcing firms effectively become the new, unaccountable observers of local public sector bodies within an enduring panoptical system. In many cases these companies will then assume responsibility for delivering the same services that they have assessed.

Citation

Eckersley, P., Ferry, L., & Zakaria, Z. (2014). A ‘panoptical’ or ‘synoptical’ approach to monitoring performance? Local public services in England and the widening accountability gap. Critical Perspectives On Accounting, 25(6), 529-538. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpa.2013.03.003

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 6, 2013
Online Publication Date Apr 21, 2013
Publication Date Sep 1, 2014
Deposit Date Oct 23, 2015
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2015
Journal Critical Perspectives On Accounting
Print ISSN 1045-2354
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 6
Pages 529-538
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpa.2013.03.003
Keywords Critical, Accountability, Public sector, New public management.
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1396948

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