Book News: June 28th, 2005

This publication from the Centre for Public Scrutiny raises important questions on the nature and effectiveness of current mechanisms for public scrutiny; what value they add to public services in terms of accountability and improved performance; and how they might develop to ensure services are genuinely shaped around citizens’ needs. It charts the range and reach of scrutiny bodies across the public sector, outlining current mechanisms for scrutiny and potential future developments at all tiers of government at local, regional, devolved and central levels. It also examines selected policy areas including criminal justice, education, health and social care, housing and regeneration, public utilities and transport.The Scrutiny Map highlights recent developments in the public scrutiny landscape including moves towards increased scrutiny at the local level, as well as initiatives designed to encourage greater public involvement in scrutiny: i.e. via foundation trust boards of governors, courts boards and patient and public involvement forums. It also looks at trends towards greater flexibility and coordination of inspection mechanisms in order to reduce burdens on service providers and ‘join up’ mechanisms within and across policy areas: This includes the Audit Commission’s recent emphasis on ‘strategic regulation’, suggested moves towards a combined criminal justice inspectorate and Ofsted’s new role overseeing inspection of children’s services.

The Scrutiny Map is available for purchase at 25 pounds and can be ordered from