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Exposure to the Law: Accountability and Its Impact on Street-level Bureaucracy

  • Mark Murphy (a1) and Paul Skillen (a2)

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 public-sector professionals perceive their relationships with the public.

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