What works in promoting ‘What Works’? A comment on Sanders, Jones and Briggs

AuthorPeter Raynor
Published date01 June 2022
Date01 June 2022
Subject MatterComment Piece
What works in
promoting What
Works? A comment
on Sanders, Jones
and Briggs
Peter Raynor
Swansea University and University of South Wales, UK
This short article is a comment on the recent proposal of a What Works Centre for
probation (Sanders, Jones and Briggs, 2021). Any new What Worksinitiative
needs to be informed by the patchy and uneven history of research on the effective-
ness of probation in England and Wales. Problems have included, at various times,
failure to keep up with research in other countries; over-dependency on government
departments to conduct and fund research; poor planning and/or implementation of
experimental projects; excessive managerialism, and failure to engage practitioners
in a research culture. Unless they are avoided, these problems will hamper any
new initiative.
probation, what works, evaluation methodology, pathnders, research centres,
Probation Inspectorate
Introduction: Nothing Works, stagnation and refutation
The recent proposal of a What Works Centre for Probationpublished in this Journal
(Sanders et al., 2021) is a welcome discussion-starter, but it needs to be considered
in the context of the long history of attempts to promote what worksin probation.
Research on the effectiveness of probation in Britain goes back at least to the
Corresponding Author:
Peter Raynor, Swansea University and University of South Wales, United Kingdom.
Email: p.raynor@swansea.ac.uk
Comment Piece The Journal of Communit
and Criminal Justice
Probation Journal
2022, Vol. 69(2) 235244
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/02645505221087977

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