School of Management

The Centre for Public Services Organisations

The Visible and Invisible Performance Effects of Transparency in Medical Professional Regulation

Principal Investigator: Dr Gerry McGivern

Gerry McGivern, Mark Exworthy and EwanFerlie were recently awarded an ESRC Public Services Programme small grant to investigate the regulation of health professionals.

The project compares the visible and invisible performance effects of transparency in the regulation of two professions discussed in the 2007 White Paper Trust, Assurance and Safety: The Regulation of Health Professionals: (1) medical professions, a well established and statutorily-regulated profession, with a large evidence-based against which to assess practice; and (2) the psychotherapy/counselling profession, a developing profession, with a weak knowledge-based and no statutory regulation. In doing so, we hope to draw lessons for both professionals about the nature of their practice and regulation.
The background to the study is the increasing use of audit, standards and targets in British public services. The project is grounded in previous work on the audit society (Power 1997) and transparency, targets and gaming (Hood2006; Hood & Heald 2006).

The first stage of the project is to conduct a literature review on professional regulation and transparency. We then assess interviews conducted on the topic with a range of stakeholders involved in professional regulation, including regulators, policy-makers, senior and junior doctors, counsellors and psychotherapists and managers. The project finishes with hold a stakeholder workshop in order to facilitate a conversation between them about regulation.


The Economic and Social Research Council

ESRC Public Services Programme (2008-2009)


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Project Outputs

» Project findings (poster) PDF