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Street-Level Bureaucrats: Discretion and Compliance in Policy Implementation

Publication: "Street-Level Bureaucrats: Discretion and Compliance in Policy Implementation", by Tony Evans

  • Date11 December 2020

Prof Tony Evans’ article “Street-Level Bureaucrats: Discretion and Compliance in Policy Implementation” has just been published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics as part of their October 2020 update.


Prof Evans’ research focuses on discretion as an organisational practice in welfare policy and practice and as a professional attribute, particularly in social work. His work explores the impact of managerialism on frontline discretion in welfare services. Drawing on his research in this field he has argued that management approaches often contribute to and exacerbate the problems they claim to solve. In this article Prof Evans argues that street level bureaucracy analysis is too broad-brush and cannot capture the range of ideas of compliance in public services. Here he argues that compliance in policy implementation need to be sensitive to different types of public services and the subsequent variety of commitments and concerns of street level bureaucrats in these services.

Evans, T. (2020). Street-level bureaucrats: discretion and compliance in policy implementation.

In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Oxford University Press. doi:

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