Director of the Supreme Court

A review of the relevant literature on the on topic of privatisation will be made. A critical analysis of this literature will be presented. The combination of quantitative and qualitative data will give a rounded picture of Public attitudes of privatisation in the Court Service. Primary research will be undertaken amongst the public and those employed in the Court Service. Formal approval to carry this research has been sought from the Director of the Supreme Court in the High Court (Ian Hyams) and I am awaiting a response.

The Prison Service has been chosen, as the main comparison as provides a similar service to that of the Court Service and the kind of interaction it has with the public. The main process will involve quantitative and qualitative research interviewing 100 members of the public. There will 10 structured questionnaires based on Dillon (1978). The questionnaires will cover attitude, belief, behaviour and attribute. They will be distributed and completed by 10 members of the public who live near each of the County Court offices across London and Greater London.

The questionnaire will seek to discover public attitudes towards privatisation as a whole and the Court Service itself. A semi-structured interview will be also used to interview managers, trade unions, and solicitors, who are very important stakeholders in the Court Service. There will be 10 interviews conducted, of which each will last no more than 30 minutes. The interviews will not be taped, due to the sensitivity of the issues within the Court Service. The data will be analysed on the Excel package. These will supplement the other data and will provide evidence about whether there is guilt in perceptions between professionals and public.

The second research method used will involve secondary data, as described by Howard (1996) that will include articles and professional journals, reports and text books. This material will include the Economist, the Public Sector Union magazine, The Guardian, Independent, and Evening Standard. Also, formal academic material about the theory and history of privatisation will be consulted. The main focus of the secondary research is to find out how privatisation and plans for privatisation have been received in public organisations such as the Post Office and National Health Service.

Recent press cuttings of newsletters published by the home courts, and the Court Service as a whole will be collected. In addition to this, information will be obtained from the websites of the courts providing data information on the process of the move towards privatisation. A specific focus will be on issues such as data storage, security and the public counter service as these are the main areas that could be possible privatised. The research will focus on privatisation that is still financed by the public sector such as security and responsibility for storing records.

A demographic profile will be done, that will be based on the secondary information collected. Mowen (1998:37) stated that "a demographic profile as including variables such as nationality, age, religion, gender, occupation, marital status, income, ethnicity and education". 5. Timescale Month Task Start Sept 2002 Initial planning End October Interview with Court Managers, Trade Unions and Other Professional Bodies. End November 2002 Read literature. The objects are clearly defined with literature references End Dec 2002 Christmas Break Literature Review Completed Start Jan 2003

Exams End Jan 2003 All Primary/Secondary Data Collected and analysed Mid Feb 2003 More Writing up Mid March 2003 Draft completion Early April Easter Break Early May Draft revised End May 2003 Submission of dissertation 6. Resourses The results of the quantitative data will be computer analysed and presented in graphs and bar charts. The qualitative data will be analysed and related to the quantitative data. Both sets of data will relate to the hypothesis and also to the extent to the larger issues of privatisation. The result will be compared to recent studies on privatisation.

I have access to the computer hardware and software at home, and at the University of Greenwich. 7. CONCLUSION In the above, examples have been given of the literature that is available to represent the different theories and views that relate to privatisation issues. The pros and cons of privatisation were discussed and will not be mentioned here. The key problem identified was that privatisation could have a negative impact on the Courts Service in general. However, there have been other researchers such as Sir John Brun that have mentioned how privatisation has provided value for money in the public sector.

Further research is needed to test the idea that privatisation will be unpopular amongst court staff and the public in general. Furthermore, the research will relate to secondary debates about privatisation in general.

REFERENCE AND BIBLIOGRAPHY PCS

(2001) 'Unions Warn Of Court Closure' Available From: http://www. pcs. org. uk/newsbrief/press/2001/released0117. htm [Accessed: 27/01/2002] Author (2001) New Prisons to be built by private companies, Financial Times, issue or volume, pages LCD (2001) 'The Lord Chancellors Department Quinquennial Review' Available From: Http://www.publicnet.co.uk