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Complexities of discretion in social services in the third sector

By Ed Carson, Donna Chung and Tony Evans


Policy analysts have devoted considerable time to examining the problem of the policy implementation gap, with one important strand in the literature following Michael Lipsky’s work on street-level bureaucracy and discretion. In this paper, we aim to contribute to the literature concerning shifts in government/third sector organisation contractual arrangements and whether they constitute a significant (post-neoliberal) development in policy implementation. Using a case study of contracted government services in Australia, we revisit the conception of discretion to reflect on the impact of these changes and document their implications for the use of discretion in management and front-line worker practices

Topics: Social service, Bureaucracy, Social policy, Government productivity
Publisher: European Journal of Social Work
Year: 2014
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