This wide-ranging edited volume provides a state of the art account of theory and research on modern street-level bureaucracy, gathering internationally acclaimed scholars to address the varying roles of public officials who fulfill their tasks while interacting with the public. These roles include the delivery of benefits and services, the regulation of social and economic behavior, and the expression and maintenance of public values.
Questions about the extent of discretionary autonomy and the feasibility of hierarchical control are discussed in depth, with suggestions made for the further development of research in this field. Hence the book fills an important gap in the literature on public policy delivery, making it a valuable text for students and researchers of public policy, public administration and public management.
"Much of the work of government is done at the street level, where public administrators meet clients and make crucial decisions for and about those clients. This book helps us greatly in understanding that level of government and its importance" Guy Peters, University of Pittsburgh
"This book provides a collection of state of the art contributions in the field of professionalism. It is indispensable for anyone interested in the functioning of front line workers, case workers and 'street level bureacrats' in recent times." René Torenvlied, University of Twente, the Netherlands
Peter Hupe teaches Public Administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam. In 2012-2013 having been a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, his research focuses on the theoretical-empirical study of the policy process, particularly implementation and street-level bureaucracy. In a longstanding collaboration he and Michael Hill have published articles in Public Administration, Public Management Review and Policy and Politics. With Aurélien Buffat he developed the 'public service gap' as a heuristic tool for comparative research (2014).
Michael Hill is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy of the University of Newcastle and a Visiting Professor at the University of Brighton. Having written on many aspects of the policy process and social policy, he is author of The Public Policy Process, Implementing Public Policy (with Peter Hupe), Understanding Social Policy (with Zoë Irving) and editor of Studying Public Policy (2014). In 2009 he was given the Social Policy Association’s lifetime award.
Aurélien Buffat is Junior Lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Lausanne, where he teaches policy analysis. Focused on policy implementation and street-level bureaucracy, he has published articles in Public Management Review and the International Review of Administrative Sciences. With Peter Hupe he has been co-chairing several panels and workshops, thus building up an international network of scholars dedicated to the study of contemporary street-level bureaucracy.
Part One: Introduction;
Introduction: defining and understanding street-level bureaucracy ~ Peter Hupe, Michael Hill and Aurélien Buffat;
The inside story: street-level research in the US and beyond ~ Evelyn Z. Brodkin;
Part Two: Delivering services and benefits: street-level bureaucracy and the welfare state;
Discretionary payments in social assistance ~ Carol Walker;
Street-level bureaucracy and professionalism in health services ~ Stephen Harrison;
When and why discretion is weak or strong: the case of taxing officers in a Public Unemployment Fund ~ Aurélien Buffat;
Part Three: Agents of the state: street-level bureaucracy and law enforcement;
Law enforcement and policy alienation: coping by labour inspectors and federal police officers ~ Kim Loyens;
Law enforcement behaviour of regulatory inspectors ~ Vibeke Lehmann Nielsen;
Street-level bureaucrats and regulatory deterrence ~ Søren C. Winter and Peter J. May;
Part Four: Embedded in society: street-level bureaucrats as public actors;
Street-level bureaucrats and client interaction in a just world ~ Vicky M. Wilkins and Jeffrey B. Wenger;
‘Playing the rules’: discretion in social and policy context ~ Michael Musheno and Steven Maynard-Moody;
Personalisation and adult social work: recasting professional discretion at the street level? ~ Kathryn Ellis;
Part Five: The management of street-level bureaucrats;
Bureaucratic, market or professional control? A theory on the relation between street-level task characteristics and the feasibility of control mechanisms ~ Duco Bannink, Frédérique Six and Eelco van Wijk;
First-line supervisors as gate-keepers: rule processing by head teachers ~ Peter Hupe and Eva van Kooten;
Service workers on the electronic leash? Street-level bureaucrats in emerging information and communication technology work contexts ~ Tino Schuppan;
Part Six: The promise of professionalism;
Fulfilling the promise of professionalism in street-level practice ~ Paul van der Aa and Rik van Berkel;
Professionals and discretion in street-level bureaucracy ~ Tony Evans;
The moment of the street-level bureaucrats in a public employment service ~ Christopher Osiander and Joss Steinke;
Part Seven: Conclusion;
Conclusion: the present and future study of street-level bureaucracy ~ Peter Hupe, Michael Hill and Aurélien Buffat.