Social Policy and Society


Welfare Reform, Jobcentre Plus and the Street-Level Bureaucracy: Towards Inconsistent and Discriminatory Welfare for Severely Disadvantaged Groups?

Del Roy Fletchera1

a1 Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University E-mail:


A defining feature of UK welfare reform has been concerted moves towards greater conditionality and sanctioning which has stimulated much academic debate. However, few policy articles have sought to examine how welfare reforms are actually implemented. Lipsky (1980) has shown that the intentions of policy makers may be frustrated by the behaviour of public service workers operating in a ‘corrupted world of service’. This article draws upon the findings of the evaluation of the Jobseekers Mandatory Activity to discuss how key welfare reforms are likely to be implemented. It argues that that discretion remains a significant feature of front-line practice with potentially profound implications for severely disadvantaged groups.

(Online publication August 05 2011)