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Deborah Rice

This chapter builds on the work of the American sociologist Robert K. Merton to develop a mechanism-based institutional approach to street-level work. Existing institutional approaches to street-level work tend to be either materialist or culturalist in outlook. They cannot account for different individual adaptations to identical organizational or policy contexts. In contrast, a Mertonian perspective takes into account both material and cultural inputs to street-level work and offers explanations for varying street-level work modes within one and the same structural environment. At the same time, a Mertonian mechanism-based approach can help to explain why certain street-level work patterns come to dominate in a particular organization or policy implementation system. Hence, such an approach may act as a valuable explanatory and sampling device in comparative street-level research.

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Martin Heidenreich and Deborah Rice

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Martin Heidenreich and Deborah Rice

Chapter 2 (authored by Martin Heidenreich and Deborah Rice) lays the analytical groundwork for the empirical chapters in the book. The chapter focuses on the organizational challenges associated with the integrated delivery of employment and social services at the local level, and discusses how the fragmentation of services between the local, regional, national and European level (vertical fragmentation), between public actors, private companies and third-sector organizations, and between policy areas such as employment, social assistance, family, health, housing (horizontal fragmentation) manifests itself and can be overcome (e.g. via central reorganization, one-stop shops or decentralized collaboration in the case of horizontal fragmentation, or by the decentralization of competencies or local discretion in the case of vertical fragmentation). Also a broad overview of multilevel, multidimensional and multi-stakeholder activation governance arrangements in the six European countries studied in this book (the UK, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Poland and France) is given. The final part of Chapter 2 turns to inner-organizational factors that either enable or hinder the provision of coordinated and individualized employment and social services at street level, namely service budgets and staff resources, client-processing procedures and categorization tools, and professional norms.

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Katharina Zimmermann and Deborah Rice

In Chapter 8 on Germany, Katharina Zimmermann and Deborah Rice address the question of how far the one-stop-shop design of the German Jobcenters for the uninsured unemployed fosters the provision of coordinated and individualized activation services. Based on interview findings from three German cities, the authors argue that service delivery is less individualized than one might expect based on the favourable regulatory context and a strong corporatist tradition in Germany. On the inter-organizational terrain, Zimmermann and Rice identify particularly data security concerns and cameralistic financing mechanisms as barriers to service coordination between Jobcenters and external actors. At street level, individualized service provision is found to be restricted mainly to the case management system and other implicit target groups, while ‘regular’ clients receive fairly limited, standardized and purely employment-focused support.

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Integrating Social and Employment Policies in Europe

Active Inclusion and Challenges for Local Welfare Governance

Edited by Martin Heidenreich and Deborah Rice

A central goal of European activation policies is to integrate social and employment policies into a coherent active inclusion approach that fosters social cohesion and enhances the employment chances of vulnerable groups. This requires a reorganisation of social and employment services especially at the local level. On the basis of empirical studies of six European welfare states, this book explores how different institutional contexts influence localised service delivery and how local actors deal with the associated coordination challenges.