Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Revisiting 'street-level bureaucracy' in post-managerialist welfare states : a critical evaluation of front-line discretion in adult social care in England
Author: Ellis, Kathryn Ann
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2009
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The thesis set out in this submission is drawn from six of the candidate’s publications, based in turn on empirical findings from four research studies of adult social care in England spanning the period 1992 2006. As a body of work, it interrogates the validity of Lipsky’s (1980) conclusions about the origins and nature of ‘streetlevel bureaucracy’ in the wake of subsequent welfare restructuring. The earlier studies pay particular attention to the impact of managerialisation on frontline assessment practice amongst adult social work teams following implementation of the 1990 National Health Service and Community Care Act. Later studies tackle a further challenge to Lipsky’s thesis of street-level bureaucracy, that is, the potential for a change in the nature of the exchange relationship between street-level bureaucrat and client in the light of the insertion of service user involvement, empowerment and rights into governance arrangements after 1990, including adult social care. The candidate argues that the ethnomethodological approach adopted in three out of the four studies has yielded rich data on frontline practice of a type screened out by much contemporaneous research on the impact of social care reforms. Taken together with the span of the research studies over some fifteen years, this has supported not only a detailed analysis of the relationship between the micropolitics of assessment practice and key features of the differing environments within which they occur but also their articulation with changing modes of welfare governance. Discourse analysis of interview findings from the remaining study has permitted insights into the way social workers integrate thinking about human and social rights into their everyday assessment practice. The candidate summarises her threefold contribution to the literature in a taxonomy derived from the research findings which serves, firstly, to articulate the relationship between core dimensions of the policy and practice environment and the differing forms of frontline discretion to emerge after 1990; secondly, to explore the impact of user empowerment and rights on the distribution of resources; and, thirdly, to evaluate the continuing relevance of ‘streetlevel’ bureaucracy for understanding frontline social work practice. She concludes by sketching out possible future directions for her work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: social care ; bureaucracy ; welfare state ; social work management ; social work assessment ; L432 Welfare Policy