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Changing forms of accountability in education? A case study of LEAs in Wales

Farrell, C.M. ORCID: and Law, J. 1999. Changing forms of accountability in education? A case study of LEAs in Wales. Public Administration 77 (2) , pp. 292-310. 10.1111/1467-9299.00155

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Political mechanisms of accountability were marginalized by Conservative government reforms during the 1980s and 1990s which sought a more market‐oriented approach within the public sector in order to enhance ‘consumerism’. In education, parents were given more choice between schools and were provided with more information on school performance. The promotion of market accountability has involved a reduction in the powers of local education authorities (LEAs) which had been central to the operation of political accountability. However, whilst market‐based forms of accountability were firmly enhanced in principle by the legislation, to what extent have the forms of accountability operating within LEAs changed in practice? Interviews with Chief Officers and the Chair of the Education Committee are used to identify changing perceptions and practices of accountability in LEAs in Wales. The findings indicate that although local politicians and officials have been forced to operate within the legislative framework of market accountability, they have sought to impede its successful implementation. The policy community in Wales facilitated the LEAs’ capacity to respond in this way. The market‐based reforms conflicted with fundamental values held in Wales, which remain those of professional accountability.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Wiley: 24 months
ISSN: 0033-3298
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 13:34

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