My review of criminologist Professor Steve Tombs new book – Social protection after the crisis: regulation without enforcement – has just been published in the April edition of Environmental Health News. I have asked for permission to reproduce it here for those who are not CIEH members, but very briefly Tombs looks behind the ‘cuts’ headlines by using research to explore what’s been happening to us for decades, why it’s happening and what we could do about it.
Rejecting simplistic explanations like deregulation, Tombs instead argues we are in a period of ‘re-regulation’ characterised by the gradual marketisation of state agents, including EHPs, and increasing inter-dependencies with the private sector via initiatives like Better Regulation and the outsourcing of public services.
Chapter 6 in particular charts the decline in law enforcement activity across environmental health regulators and is amplified by the results from research into Merseyside EHPs. These include an investigation of their attitudes towards Better Regulation, an exploration of the impacts of cuts on their capacity to protect public health and important critiques of the Primary Authority scheme and outsourcing.
I will write more about the book soon, but at its core it reminded me why I became an EHP – i.e. to maintain and improve public health, not to promote economic growth!!
The coming launch of ‘Better Regulation: Better for whom?‘ – a pamphlet summarising the book – by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and The Open University’s Harm and Evidence Research is therefore very timely, not least with the Cabinet Office’s recent announcement of its Cutting Red Tape review of local authorities (see: http://tinyurl.com/jt9u3vk) and the CIEH’s call for case studies to be included in their submission.
The pamphlet will be launched at two free events in London and Liverpool on the 26th and 27th April respectively. For more details and to book your place please visit:
London – http://tinyurl.com/zfjuqrm
Liverpool – http://tinyurl.com/z5utvqz
Current Government policy and past reviews (e.g. Hampton, Rogers) suggest that we need all the help we can get, I hope that EHPs at all levels will make the time to engage with Tombs’ work. Please watch this space….
With best wishes, Rob