- Vluchten in bureaucratie: bureaucratische gehechtheid onder professionals in de jeugdhulpverlening
- B en M : Tijdschrift voor Beleid, Politiek en Maatschappij
- Volume | Issue number
- 39 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In recent decades, professionals in the public sector have been faced with increasingly detailed demands concerning accountability and performance. It is often argued that this increased accountability and its bureaucratic pressures limit professionals’ discretionary space and autonomy. However, this critique is hardly based on empirical research on the experiences and perceptions of professionals themselves. In this article we present an investigation into these perceptions and experiences with accountability in one particular brand of the public sector, namely youth care.
Our research indicates that professionals in youth care are hardly interested in greater autonomy or discretion. They rather want clarity, security and options for learning. Moreover, we found ‘bureaucratic attachment’: attachment to bureaucratic procedures particularly as a reaction to increased fears to be sued when something goes wrong with clients. In the recurrent arguments for reduction of bureaucracy, this other face of bureaucracy is often disregarded.
Regarding working conditions however, the professionals we interviewed do want more discretion. Especially concerning occupation of beds, as the requirement for permanent occupation is viewed to augment risk. We therefore argue for better backing of professionals in youth, for a more precise battle against unnecessary bureaucracy, and for professionalization in order to handle more discretion.
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