• Exposure to the Law: Accountability and its impact on Street Level Bureaucracy

      Murphy, Mark; Skillen, Paul; University of Glasgow; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2016-11-16)
      Little research has been conducted exploring the relationship between public sector accountability and the law. This is a significant oversight given the potential for this relationship to cause unintended consequences around issues of liability, especially in the context of a growing litigation culture. The purpose of the current research is to explore this relationship, using qualitative studies of public sector professionals in England. The findings of the study suggest that increasing emphasis on accountability has led to a growing magnification of legal risk in the public sector, with consequences for the ways in public sector professionals perceive their relations with the public.
    • The Politics of Time on the Frontline: Street Level Bureaucracy, Professional Judgment, and Public Accountability

      Murphy, Mark; Skillen, Paul; University of Glasgow; University of Chester (Routledge, 2015-05-05)
      This article reports on a study carried out on the impact of quality assurance mechanisms on street-level bureaucrats in Northern England (teachers, nurses and social workers). A key aim of the research was to explore the ways in which these mechanisms negotiate the much older regulatory function of time. The findings suggest that these mechanisms contribute to forms of time compression across professional activities, time compression in turn having consequences for professional judgement. The study explores the mechanisms via which this occurs, while also examining the implications of the research for debates about democracy, political regulation, and public sector management.