Beyond 'street level bureaucrats' - re-interpreting the role of front line public sector workers
Traditional understandings of public policy implementation have emphasised front line workers operating in hierarchical bureaucracies. This perspective now faces multiple challenges - theoretical, empirical, and analytical - that all emphasise the limitations of this approach in understanding the role of the front line public sector workers operating under contemporary governance arrangements. This paper explicates these challenges and uses them to frame an exploration into how front line workers in the contemporary governance arena articulate their understandings of the traditions and dilemmas they face in the re-constituted public sector. The paper argues that front line workers are able to manage these dilemmas to produce locally appropriate and pragmatic solutions that respond to national policy priorities. This presents a new rationale and narrative of front line public sector work.
Citation:Durose, C. (2007) Beyond 'street level bureaucrats' - re-interpreting the role of front line public sector workers. Critical Policy Analysis, 1 (2), pp. 217-234.
Research Group:Local Governance Research Unit