- Getting Welfare to Work
- Street-Level Governance in Australia, the UK, and the Netherlands
- Number of pages
- Oxford: Oxford University Press
- Document type
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS)
This book traces the radical reform of the Australian, UK, and Dutch public employment services systems. Starting with major changes from 1998, this book examines how each national system has moved from traditional public services towards more privately provided and market-based methods. Each of these three countries developed innovative forms of contracting-out and complex incentive regimes to motivate welfare clients and to control the agencies charged with helping them. The Australian system pioneered the use of large, national contracts for services to all unemployed jobseekers, and is now entirely outsourced to private agencies. Meanwhile the UK elected a form of contestability under Blair and Cameron, culminating in a new public-private financing model known as the ‘Work Programme’. The Dutch had evolved their far more complex system from a traditional public service approach to one using a variety of specific contracts for private agencies. These bold policy reforms have changed welfare delivery and created both opportunities and new constraints for policy makers. This book tells the reform story from the perspective of street-level bureaucrats. Interviews and surveys in each country over a fifteen year period are used to critically appraise changes to this central pillar of the welfare state. The original data analysed in this book provides a unique comparative perspective on three intriguing systems. It points to new ways of thinking about modes of governance, system design, regulation of public services, performance monitoring, and so-called activation of welfare clients.
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