Prison System Analysis Essay
Even in such public areas as the police and prison system, dramatic changes in the overall conception of the structure of policy resulted from the introduction of managerialism.
In crime control, welfarism has been replaced by an ethos of crime management, in which the attention of policy has shifted from the causes of crime, “to an emphasis upon crime management” (Kernshall & Ross, 2003, p. 551).Rather than waiting for a crime to occur, that is, more and more police departments are placing “an increasing emphasis upon situational crime reduction strategies in communities” (Kernshall & Ross, p. 551). More governments are seeing partnerships between police and other agencies to implement these interventions, and many of these partnerships are measured by a value for money ethos in which the costs of service are measured against desirable outcomes.A further variant of TQM is witnessed in the case study of a Queens land public service to help disabled people in their homes.
Like other agencies, this service was reorganized and its management style changed so that the “quality, accountability, efficiency and the effectiveness of service provision” was provided (Spall & McDonald, et. al. , 2005, p. 56). After the top-to-bottom reform, involving both system-level change and customer-level change, policymakers hoped for considerable service-quality changes.The reform was a TQM-oriented NPM-style reform because it was built on a quasi-market model that offered customer choices for service based on their perception of efficiency and satisfaction.
According to Spall and McDonald, Choice “is considered a central principle of contemporary public service” in so far as it “involves a shift in user identity from the passive client to whom services are delivered to the active consumer” (Spall & McDonald, et. al. , p. 59).
Individualized choice, where services are “geared to be responsive to individual consumer needs” (Spall & McDonald, et. al. , p. 59), is also a strong element of the theory as NPM assumes that “service uses are both highly individualized and idiosyncratic in their needs and preferences, and are capable of the pursuit of rational self-interest” (Spall & McDonald, et. al. , p.
59). Unfortunately, in the case study, choice was seen as largely fictitious by consumers who simply needed service, and individualized choice was muted by the fact that when individualization occurred in, for example, accommodating modifications needed for wheelchairs, customers had to wait far too long for this service (Spall & McDonald, e. al. , 2005).
According to NPM, constant assessment of service is required, but most customers found this element of service to “be a waste of time that would be better spent on providing the service” (Spall & McDonald, p. 61). In some cases, improved service meant increased costs, while in other cases greater efficiency in service left customers feeling that the service was “they come in and they rush around and, bang, they’re gone” (Spall & McDonald, et. al.
, p. 61).As a result, the whole service delivery system ended up becoming unsettling and confusing for many customers. This finding indicates that some aspect of the “total” in TQM was not attended to in this intervention of service reform.
In addition to TQM-related interventions, other customer-oriented reforms have emerged which seek to conform bureaucracy to customer needs in different ways. In the case of providing better public transport for the public, the political process is deemed to be too indirect or clumsy to bring about customer-oriented change (Schieffelbusch, 2005).A better approach is if the public transport services themselves adopt a customer orientation. In order to bring customer orientation into the thinking of the service the service adopted four methodologies to involve users, the surveying of users’ views, discussing and assessing service through such participative procedures as town meetings or hearings, providing experimental services and then observing how the public responds, and, finally, “retrospective analysis of individual comments from customers” (Schieffelbusch, p. 270).
These approaches were found to help one public transport service improve customer service. Collaboration between state and non-state organizations is another area where interventions have emerged to help the public sector improve customer service. In the example of a state-community partnership to reduce domestic violence, the informing model was Braithwaite’s responsive regulatory approach whereby through the operation of a “regulatory pyramid” policy favors taking the least punitive approach to a problem, before pursuing other means (Kelly, 2004, p. 41).
According to this model, a public agency will first try the power of persuasion to curtail behavior, and only as the pyramid narrows do the “interventions grow increasingly punitive and involve a much heavier degree of formal state involvement” (Kelly, p. 41). In addition, “the decision to move up the pyramid and toward a greater emphasis on state force is made ‘only reluctantly’ and only ‘in response to a failure to elicit reform and repair” (Kelly, p. 41).An important element of such an approach is that the decision of how to respond to a situation is made on a case-per-case basis.
It is believed that by delaying the use of punitive response, such response is ultimately strengthened. Moreover, this management approach to problems helps providers “recognize the ways in which completely different types of interventions, sometimes occurring in entirely different domains of society, might nevertheless function to reinforce one another positively” (Kelly, p. 44).