Transforming the probation service: the 'what works' agenda, organisational change and professional identity

Newman, J. and Nutley, S. (2003). Transforming the probation service: the 'what works' agenda, organisational change and professional identity. Policy and Politics, 31(4) pp. 547–563.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1332/030557303322439407

Abstract

This article considers the rise of the 'what works' policy agenda in the probation service. It presents case study data on a decade of change in one probation service area. The findings are that 'what works' has produced a change in the knowledge pool upon which professional practice is based. It has also had a significant impact on the social relationships of probation work.Such shifts in professional knowledge and social relationships have shaken pre-existing professional and organisational identities. However,'what works' appears to have shifted rather than eroded professional boundaries, creating new divisions on which the profession might reconstruct itself.

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