Implementation: Facilitating and Overseeing Public Services at Street Level

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Title: Implementation: Facilitating and Overseeing Public Services at Street Level
Authors: Scott, Colin
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Date: 17-Dec-2020
Online since: 2021-07-20T15:43:57Z
Abstract: Implementation is a key concept in the language of public policy as a field both of practice and of scholarship. The concept is less well developed in administrative law, but can be put to use in examining the daily practices of street level bureaucrats in giving effect to government programmes in such areas as welfare, housing, health, industrial policy, transport and so on. A focus on implementation takes us to what are frequently for administrative lawyers ‘the dark and windowless areas of the administration (Harlow and Rawlings 2009: 201), since they are not very visible from the perspective of a court-centred approach to administrative law which largely focuses on judicial review. Today, of course, the development of a wide range of mechanisms for supporting the achievement of administrative justice means there is a greater focus by lawyers on such ground level decisions and actions which constitute the implementation of government programmes. The literature has largely focused on the broadening range instruments of accountability and control for decisions rather than primary decision making itself. Arguably, if the architecture of accountability and control was working well, administrative decisions would be properly made and would not need to call on such external scrutiny frequently. A key function of administrative law and administrative justice is to support decisions being made and implemented well on the ground. There is a potential tension between managerial concerns with effective and efficient decision making, on the one hand, and public law values of accountability, equality and legality on the other (Christensen, Goerdel et al. 2011). The focus of this chapter is on that first level implementation of administrative decisions and actions. I have aimed to pitch the analysis at a level of generality such that it captures key questions and trends relating to implementation across contemporary public administration within the member states of OECD. But the analysis has the potential to illuminate the core functions involved in implementation and the variety in how those functions are executed in terms of levels of government, actors and modes across any system of government. The Chapter concludes with an assessment of the role both of proactive and reactive modes of accountability and oversight in supporting legitimate and effective street level implementation.
Type of material: Book Chapter
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Keywords: Administrative lawNATO (Hood and Margetts)Governmental transparencyAccountability
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Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Is part of: Cane P., Lindseth P., Ip, E., Hoffman H. (eds.). Oxford Handbook of Comparative Administrative Law
ISBN: 9780198799986
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Appears in Collections:Law Research Collection

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