Analysis on NOMS: form the Perspective of Accounting Entity
YANYAN HE, HAINA WANG, PEI GU, WEIMO GAO, SHUYAN QIU
The National Offender Management Service (NOMS), responsible for the National Probation Service and HM Prison Service, is an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Justice in United Kingdom. The role of NOMS is to commission and provide offender management services, to deliver the punishment and orders of the courts and to support rehabilitation by helping offenders to reform their lives within England and Wales. However, in an increasingly global economy, a much debated issue these days is how to improve the efficiency in operation in the public sector. Further reforms of management practices, and of financial controls in particular, were held to required, with increasing emphasis placed on extending the financial accountability of service providers (Kurunmäki, 1999). Since the New Public Sector reforms in late 1980s, a more market-based and accountable management has been called for in the public sector to replace the traditional modes characterized by professionalism, bureaucracy and departmentalism. The aim of the New Public Sector reforms was to address a widespread perceived problem with the management of public sector organizations, and it achieved this goal by means of changing the allocation of financing for the publicly funded services by market based system. The following statement by the Chief Executive in NOMS reveals that the values of NOMS are quite in line with the objective of market-based New Public Sector reforms:
Now, under the Ministry of Justice’s Transforming Justice agenda, we are taking forward an ambitious reform programme – opening up public services to a wider base of providers and changing the way we fund and commission services so that we are focused on outcomes rather than processes, increasingly aiming to pay providers for the results they achieve. (Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of National Offender Management Service)
This paper will take a closer look at the NOMS from an accounting perspective by define it as an accounting entity. To define something as an accounting entity is to represent an area of interest, to make real and to circumscribe the objects and activities of which financial reports will speak (Kurunmäki, 1999). Bearing this in mind, by defining NOMS as an accounting entity, NOMS can do better in ensuring best value for money from public resources by disclosing accounting figures which are able to reflect objective exists, organizational expenditure and internal managerial operation. Moreover, it is helpful for NOMS to use the resources in the most effective way as well as to deliver value for money for the taxpayer by focusing on outcomes. It is the objective of this paper to examine the nature of NOMS as an entity and how it is represented in its Annual Report. Firstly, this paper will take a specific look at the implications of the representation of NOMS as an accounting entity on definitions of organizational accountability. Furthermore, the following section will give an in-depth examination of the highlighted aspects of NOMS’ accountability in the Acounts as well as its left-out aspects. Finally, we will explore in more detail about what issues, items and risks are kept “off-balance sheet” and what might be consequences of this.
NOMS, AS AN ACCOUNTING ENTITY
NOMS, as it is created with the aim to help prison and probation services work together to manage offenders, has the organizational answerability, blameworthiness, liability and the expectation of account-giving to the public. By defining NOMS as an accounting entity, its organizational accountability to the public can be demonstrated in the following perspectives. Firstly, to provide more detailed information on the municipal finances and operations within the organization helps to improve transparency and comparability. The new financial controls to be...
References: Meyer (1973), ‘The Accounting Entity,’ Abacus , 9(2), 116-126.
Kurunmä ki (1999), ‘Making an Accounting Entity: The Case of the Hospital in Finnish Health Care Reforms,’ European Accounting Review , 8(2), 219-237.
National Offender Management Service (NOMS). (2014), Annual Report, [Online] Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/322699/NOM S_AR_2014_web.pdf [Assessed: Oct 30th 2014]
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