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Policy implementation and refugee settlement: The perceptions and experiences of street-level bureaucrats in Launceston, Tasmania

Citation

James, I and Julian, R, Policy implementation and refugee settlement: The perceptions and experiences of street-level bureaucrats in Launceston, Tasmania, Journal of Sociology pp. 1-19. ISSN 1440-7833 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1177/1440783320931585

Abstract

The roles played by professional frontline service providers in the implementation of refugee settlement policy in Australia have not been researched in depth. Australia plays a leading part in settling 18,740 refugees annually. This qualitative investigation interviewed 20 professionals engaged in this activity in Launceston, Tasmania and employed Lipsky’s concept of ‘street-level bureaucrats’ to explicate their decision-making processes as they implemented public policy. The findings suggest that the majority of participants contextualised and individualised the delivery of benefits and services. In doing so, their worldviews, values, and professional experience led them to ‘turn a blind eye’, ‘bend the rules’, or even engage in bureaucratic versions of guerrilla warfare to achieve what they believed to be the best outcome for their clients. This research is significant because it demonstrates that street-level bureaucrats may escape the constraints of neoliberal managerialism by exercising creative beneficent discretion that aligns with policy objectives.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia, discretion, integration, managerialism, neoliberalism, public policy implementation, refugee settlement, street-level bureaucracy,
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Applied sociology, program evaluation and social impact assessment
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:James, I (Mr Ivan James)
UTAS Author:Julian, R (Professor Roberta Julian)
ID Code:139926
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2020-07-16
Last Modified:2021-01-27
Downloads:0

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