This article provides an ‘insider’ perspective on the work of the Correctional Services Accreditation Panel (CSAP) of England and Wales, a key plank of the government’s ‘What Works’ strategy and in particular its aim of reducing re-offending through the development of ‘gold standard’, ‘evidence-based’ interventions (principally — but not exclusively — offending behaviour programmes). The article begins with a brief discussion of the concept of accreditation, its value and potential drawbacks. It then provides an account of CSAP’s working practices and some reflections on the results of its work so far, set against the background of challenges and tensions arising from a changing policy environment, resource constraints, mixed results from outcome studies, and debates about what some perceived as an over-narrow remit for accreditation. It concludes with some thoughts about possible future directions for CSAP or successor bodies with broadly similar goals.
- offending behaviour programmes
- 'What Works'