Source: (2004) IN, George Mair,ed., What Matters in Probation?. Cullompton, Devon,UK: Willan Publishing. Pp. 122-145.
The Ã¢Â€Âœbarking dogÃ¢Â€? referred to by Judith Rumgay in the title to her essay is a popular metaphor for human fallibility in problem perception. The metaphor originates in a Sherlock Holmes mystery in which a household dog did not bark at night to warn of an intruder; Holmes concluded from this that the intruder or danger came from within the house. Rumgay revises this to invoke a different account of human failure to hear a warning. In this account, people willfully disregard obvious signals that all is not well. The household is the probation service, which has committed itself and its internal resources to a drive for effectiveness known as the What Works agenda. Rumgay explores problems and risks in the probation serviceÃ¢Â€Â™s partnership with other organizations in pursuit of this agenda. Specifically, she examines the scale of the probation serviceÃ¢Â€Â™s partnership enterprise; alternative definitions of the crime problem that suggest different routes to resolving it; and problems of exclusivity (in programs), effectiveness, evaluation, and accountability.
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