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Elect the inspectors

The "inspectocracy" isn't working. Inspectors must be accountable to local people, not ministers

By John Denham   August 2007

Britain’s “inspectocracy” has grown remorselessly under governments of both parties in recent years. Ignoring the minor players, like the benefits fraud inspectorate, we have Ofsted for schools and nurseries, the commission for social care inspection, the healthcare commission, Her Majesty’s inspectors of constabulary, prisons and probation, and then you have the far-reaching audit commission. Public service organisations aren’t disciplined by markets (and pretend markets in public services are not a real substitute). Forcing public organisations to measure, monitor and publish their performance has revealed some chronic weaknesses and some huge variations in standards between similar areas. To that extent, the…

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