Target, audit and risk assessment cultures in the probation service

  • Jake Phillips (Department of Criminology, St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge. Email:

This article traces the rise of managerialism in the probation service in England and Wales before exploring the impact of these changes through reference to in-depth observation and interviews in probation. The article considers how national standards affect practice; how audits feature and their impact on accountability; and how the use of risk assessment tools are perceived and resisted in two probation teams in England Wales. The article then turns to changes implemented by the Coalition Government and highlights some tensions between managerialist occupational cultures in probation and what might occur in the near future.

Keywords: Probation practice, Occupational culture, Managerialism, Targets, Risk

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