Three decades later, the need to bolster the availability and effectiveness of healthcare, social services, education, and law enforcement is as urgent as ever. In this thirtieth anniversary expanded edition, Michael Lips revisits the territory he mapped out in the first edition to reflect on significant policy developments over the last several decades. Despite the difficulties of managing these front-line workers, he shows how street-level bureaucracies can be and regularly are brought Into line with public purposes.
Street-level bureaucrats?from teachers and police officers to social workers and legal-lad lawyers?interact directly with the public and so represent the frontline of government policy. In Street-Level Bureaucracy, Lips argues that these relatively low-level public service employees labor under huge caseloads, ambiguous agency goals, and inadequate resources. When combined with substantial discretionary authority and the requirement to interpret policy on a case-by-case basis, the difference between government policy in theory and policy in practice can e substantial and troubling.
The core dilemma of street-level bureaucrats is that they are supposed to help people or make decisions about them on the basis of individual cases, yet the structure of their Jobs makes this Impossible. Instead, they are forced to adopt practices such as rationing resources, screening applicants for qualities their organizations favor, “rubbernecking” applications, and routinely client Interactions by Imposing the unmolested of mass processing on situations requiring human responsiveness.
Occasionally, such strategies work out in favor of the client. But the cumulative effect of street-level decisions made on the basis of routines and simplifications about clients can reroute the intended direction of policy, undermining citizens’ expectations of evenhanded treatment. This seminal, award-winning study tells a cautionary tale of how decisions made by overburdened workers translate into ad-hoc policy adaptations that impact peoples’ lives and life opportunities. Lips maintains, however, that these problems are not insurmountable.
Over the years, public managers have developed ways to bring street-level performance more in line with agency goals. This expanded edition of Street-Level Bureaucracy underscores that, despite Its challenging nature, street- level work can be made to conform to higher expectations of public service. MICHAEL LIPS Is senior program director of Demos, a non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization, and an affiliate professor at Georgetown university. Publication of Street-Level Bureaucracy.
Participants are Michael Lips, Distinguished Senior fellow at Demos and Research Professor at Georgetown University; John Employment, Director of the Center for Urban Research at CUNY Graduate Center; Linda Gibbs, Deputy Mayor for Human Services of the City of New York; and Ellen Shall, Dean of the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NOISY. Introduction by RSI President Eric Wander  The concept of street-level bureaucracy was first coined by Michael Lips in 1980, who argued that “policy implementation in the end comes down to the people who actually implement it” . 1] He argued that state employees such as police and social workers should be seen as part of the “policy-making community” and as exercisers of political power. Examples of street-level bureaucrats Street-level bureaucrats include police officers, firefighters, and other individuals, who on a daily basis interact with regular citizens and provide the force behind the given rules and laws in their areas of expertise.
Problems with street-level bureaucracy Lips identified several problems with street-level bureaucracy, including “the problem of limited resources, the continuous negotiation that is necessary in order to make it seem like one is meeting targets, and the relations with (involuntary) However, some commentators have challenged Lipase’s model. Tony Evans and John Harris. “ argue that “the proliferation of rules and regulations should not automatically be equated with greater control over professional discretion; paradoxically, more rules may create more discretion. They also argue that the exercise of professional discretion by street-level bureaucrats is not inherently “bad”, but can be seen as an important professional attribute.  A 2003 American study, conducted by Steven Maynard Moody of the University of Kansas, reiterated the significance of street-level bureaucrats in the political process, asserting that street- level workers “actually make policy choices rather than simply implement the decisions of elected officials.  They also claim, based on a study of 48 street-level state employees in two states, that “workers’ beliefs about the people they interact with continually rub against policies and rules” and that the prejudices of the street- level bureaucrats influence their treatment of In 2007, Emil Mackey discretion to change policy at the implementation level. Furthermore, these policy implementation changes reflected the individual values of each street-level bureaucrat rather than the will of policymakers.
Therefore, this research not only confirmed previous street-level bureaucrat research and literature, but also expanded it to include the Higher Education policy environment.  References 1. A Jump up to:a b Lips, M. , Street-level Bureaucracy; Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Services, 1980, view summary 2. A Jump up to:a b Evans, T and Harris, J, Street- Level Bureaucracy, Social Work and the (Exaggerated) Death of Discretion, British Journal of Social Work, Volvo. 4, no. 6, September 2004, view abstract 3.
A Jump up to:a b Maynard-Moody, S and Musher, M, Cops, Teachers, Counselors: Stories from the Front Lines of Public Service, University of Michigan Press, 2003, view summary 4. Jump pup Also see Norma M. Recruit, How Management Matters: Street-Level Bureaucrats and Welfare Reform. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2005. 5. Jump pup Mackey, Emil Robert (2008). Street-level bureaucrats and the shaping of university housing policy. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press.
Categories: Public administration Tools Evans, Antonym, 1960- (2006) Discretion and street-level bureaucracy theory : a case study of local authority social work. PhD thesis, University of Warwick. PDF WRAP_Theses_Evans_2006. PDF – Requires a PDF viewer such as Gives, XP or Adobe Acrobat Reader Download (mob) This thesis is a critical examination of social work discretion within adult Social Services. The topic is explored through a critical analysis of Lipase’s examination of discretion within street-level bureaucracies.
The thesis first outlines Lipase’s analysis of discretion and subsequent research within the street-level bureaucracy respective, identify the limited analysis of the role of managers and the influence of professionalism on discretion as areas for further consideration. The thesis explores debates about management control and professionalism with regards to social workers’ discretion, and how these relate to the continuing relevance of Lipase’s work on discretion.
Two key alternative accounts of discretion in contemporary social work are identified: domination managerial, arguing that managers have achieved control over social work and have extinguished discretion; and the discursive nonagenarians perspective, which sees managerial control and professional discretion intersecting in different ways in different settings. The thesis examines these arguments in terms of their descriptions of different regimes of discretion, that is: how discretion is characterized; claims about the nature of management control; and the role of professional status.
These issues are examined through a study of an older persons team and a mental health team within the same local authority. The study suggests that ‘management’ is not monolithic, but is an internally differentiated roof, and that local managers exercise significant discretion themselves and contribute to practitioner discretion. Furthermore, professionalism as a formal principle, in structuring discretion continues to be significant, but to different degrees in the two different teams.
The thesis concludes that the street-level perspective is useful in identifying limitations on managers’ ability to control discretion. However) this perspective is also criticized as offering a limited account and neglecting the role of managers and professionalism in explaining the nature of social work discretion in Social Services.