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Open Access research with a European policy impact...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC).

EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

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Personalization and street level practice in activation : the case of the UK's work programme

Fuertes, Vanesa and Lindsay, Colin (2016) Personalization and street level practice in activation : the case of the UK's work programme. Public Administration, 94 (2). pp. 526-541. ISSN 0033-3298

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Abstract

This article discusses factors shaping street-level caseworkers' role in the ‘personalization’ of activation for people with employability and health-related barriers to work. Rice's (2013) micro-institutionalist framework understands street-level bureaucracy as being defined across three levels: interactions between caseworkers and clients; the environment of the implementing organization that shapes, and is shaped by, these interactions; and the relationship between these two levels of interaction and the wider economic, policy and social context. While building on the foundations laid by previous scholars, we use Rice's framework as the starting point for a preliminary study of street-level bureaucrats' role in compulsory activation. We analyse in-depth interviews with caseworkers and clients involved in the UK government's main activation programme – ‘The Work Programme’. Our findings support other studies and add to the literature by suggesting that a number of organizational and high-level policy factors have contributed to an increasing standardization of street-level practice.