The policy process and governance in the information age : the case of closed circuit television
This thesis seeks to account for and understand the reasons for the rapid diffusion of
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) surveillance systems in public places across the UK.
This is achieved by examining the policy processes and governance structures associated
with the diffusion of CCTV systems in local authority settings.
An underlying theme in the thesis is that because CCTV is a uniquely powerful
technology, its introduction and subsequent diffusion, must be understood in its political
and policy environment. To address this concern the thesis develops a framework of
understanding based on different perspectives of the policy process, where each
perspective is based on the evolution of a core idea or concept. Each of the dominant
perspectives identified, offer a different way of `seeing' or comprehending the policy
process, and consequently, a different way of explaining the diffusion of CCTV. This is
significant as it shows that CCTV must be understood as a policy and a technological
phenomenon, and that the processes that explain policy development and technological
diffusion are closely intertwined.
A key objective of the thesis has been to design a scientific methodology in which to
embed the development of the theoretical framework and the empirical research process.
In doing so the thesis developed a coherent and comprehensive way of understanding
contemporary information age policy processes and the diffusion of CCTV. The main
empirical elements of the research were a national survey of local authorities and three
detailed local authority case studies. These established that local authorities had installed
CCTV into a wide range of public places and that diffusion had involved a variety of
strategic, deliberative, consultative and evaluative processes. For local authorities, CCTV
represents both a radical shift in policy and a highly institutionalised response to
perceived problems in society.