• Are current accountability frameworks appropriate for degree apprenticeships?

      Lambert, Steve; University of Chester (Emerald, 2016-11)
      Purpose In 2015 the Conservative-led government announced their plan to increase the number of people participating in apprenticeship to 3 million by 2020. As part of this plan there is to be an expansion of the number of degree level apprenticeships, with the government suggesting that these should be seen as a real alternative to university. Despite the government’s propaganda of an alternative to university, higher education institutions (HEI) have a pivotal role to play in both the development and delivery of degree level apprenticeships. However, the accountability for the success of degree level apprenticeships remains unclear. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to consider whether existing outcome-based notions of accountability are appropriate, given the tri-partite relationship involved in apprenticeship delivery. Design/methodology/approach The paper provides an analysis of current notions of outcome-based accountability contextualised through the degree apprenticeship programme. Findings The paper illustrates that outcome-based accountability frameworks do little to support the delivery of degree level apprenticeships suggesting that there needs to be a shift to a holistic approach where student success forms just one element of an accountability framework. A conclusion is subsequently made that current accountability frameworks may end in an unnecessary confusion regarding the roles and responsibilities of individual contributors associated with degree apprenticeships, resulting in a missed opportunity to maximise on the value arising from the tri-partite delivery relationship. Originality/value This paper provides an original perspective involving accountability associated with degree apprenticeship programmes in the UK.
    • Exposure to the Law: Accountability and its impact on Street Level Bureaucracy

      Murphy, Mark; Skillen, Paul; University of Glasgow; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2016-11-16)
      Little research has been conducted exploring the relationship between public sector accountability and the law. This is a significant oversight given the potential for this relationship to cause unintended consequences around issues of liability, especially in the context of a growing litigation culture. The purpose of the current research is to explore this relationship, using qualitative studies of public sector professionals in England. The findings of the study suggest that increasing emphasis on accountability has led to a growing magnification of legal risk in the public sector, with consequences for the ways in public sector professionals perceive their relations with the public.
    • The Politics of Time on the Frontline: Street Level Bureaucracy, Professional Judgment, and Public Accountability

      Murphy, Mark; Skillen, Paul; University of Glasgow; University of Chester (Routledge, 2015-05-05)
      This article reports on a study carried out on the impact of quality assurance mechanisms on street-level bureaucrats in Northern England (teachers, nurses and social workers). A key aim of the research was to explore the ways in which these mechanisms negotiate the much older regulatory function of time. The findings suggest that these mechanisms contribute to forms of time compression across professional activities, time compression in turn having consequences for professional judgement. The study explores the mechanisms via which this occurs, while also examining the implications of the research for debates about democracy, political regulation, and public sector management.