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

James, I and Julian, R ORCID: 0000-0003-0634-2055 2020 , 'Policy implementation and refugee settlement: The perceptions and experiences of street-level bureaucrats in Launceston, Tasmania' , Journal of Sociology , pp. 1-19 , doi: 10.1177/1440783320931585.

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Abstract

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

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:James, I and Julian, R
Keywords: Australia, discretion, integration, managerialism, neoliberalism, public policy implementation, refugee settlement, street-level bureaucracy,
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Sociology
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN: 1440-7833
DOI / ID Number: 10.1177/1440783320931585
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 The Authors

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