Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Personalization and street-level practice in activation: the case of the UK's work programme.

Fuertes, Vanesa; Lindsay, Colin


Vanesa Fuertes

Colin Lindsay


This article discusses factors shaping street-level caseworkers' role in the ‘personalization’ of activation for people with employability and health-related barriers to work. Rice's (2013) micro-institutionalist framework understands street-level bureaucracy as being defined across three levels: interactions between caseworkers and clients; the environment of the implementing organization that shapes, and is shaped by, these interactions; and the relationship between these two levels of interaction and the wider economic, policy and social context. While building on the foundations laid by previous scholars, we use Rice's framework as the starting point for a preliminary study of street-level bureaucrats' role in compulsory activation. We analyse in-depth interviews with caseworkers and clients involved in the UK government's main activation programme – ‘The Work Programme’. Our findings support other studies and add to the literature by suggesting that a number of organizational and high-level policy factors have contributed to an increasing standardization of street-level practice.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 13, 2015
Online Publication Date Dec 28, 2015
Publication Date 2016-06
Deposit Date Jan 18, 2016
Journal Public Administration
Print ISSN 0033-3298
Electronic ISSN 1467-9299
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 94
Issue 2
Pages 526-541
Keywords Employability; health-related barriers; street-level caseworkers; personalization; activation;
Public URL
Publisher URL