Local Authority Officers and the Primary Authority Scheme: Survey Report
Dunlop, Claire A.; Jonathan C.; Radaelli, Claudio M.
Date: 1 November 2014
University of Exeter
The research objective was to explore the impact of two levels of training on the PA scheme provided by the BRDO to local authority regulators. Specifically, we asked to what extent training increased participants knowledge and understanding of the scheme. Anchoring vignettes and two sets of positional questions were used to establish ...
The research objective was to explore the impact of two levels of training on the PA scheme provided by the BRDO to local authority regulators. Specifically, we asked to what extent training increased participants knowledge and understanding of the scheme. Anchoring vignettes and two sets of positional questions were used to establish trained and untrained local authority inspectors’ understanding of the PA scheme itself and more broadly, the burden minimisation agenda that underpins it. We gathered survey responses from 172 participants – 37 trained at level 1; 77 at level 2 and 58 untrained. In terms of knowledge, all those surveyed – both trained and untrained – displayed a sophisticated understanding of the PA scheme in almost all respects. One key area that could be developed in future training – at both levels – concerns the role of the EA and the extent to which the power of their inspectors is changed or diminished where a PA partnership is in place. Does training make a difference? With regard to the vignettes, training was not significant in explaining any of the answers. This is perhaps unsurprising. Vignette scenarios are designed to immerse respondents in a real life professional dilemma related to their job, we can argue that a one day training session could not be enough to influence deeply engrained professional routines. This argument is bolstered by the fact that the survey sample was heavily biased toward inspectors with a wealth of professional experience – 80% with more than 10 years of service. We did however observe a significant influence of training in respondents’ answers to the positional statements. Crucially training, along with whether or not subjects were involved in a PA partnership, helped explain differences in how inspectors understood the difference roles of EAs and PAs in the scheme. It would appear that participation in training when combined with working in a PA partnership helps officers develop a deeper understanding about how to share burdens and manage regulatory relationships. First and foremost, the inspectors learned about the PA scheme through their involvement in it – learning by doing. But, learning through training did play a supportive role. The training may have combined with PA membership to help inspectors review their professional identity and gain a more nuanced understanding of the different roles required by EA and PA professionals.
College of Social Sciences and International Studies
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