Informations and abstract
Keywords: implementation, social policies, street-level bureaucrats, discretion, accountability.
The social policies' sector is often a privileged field of research for studies on implementation processes. Notwithstanding the obvious differences among countries, this is generally an area of «low» enforcement rights, due to an entitlement related to assessment of individual social needs and capabilities. In fact, this means that laws in this sector can be particularly unstructured to give places to specific situations and qualitative considerations. Furthermore, the demand for intervention is undergoing a long period of multiple changes, which make it difficult to adapt the regulations to an increasing complexity and individualization lifetime pathways, work careers and, consequently, social needs. All that provides a significant discretion attributed to technical-operational level of public administration (or delegated subjects) and the so-called «street-level bureaucrats». This makes the policy implementation phase and its outcomes less predictable and difficult to be controlled. The same welfare and its aims have being subjected, for a long time, to a general rethinking and quite radical changes to rationalize public expenditures and reorganize policy systems for a better efficiency, efficacy, legitimacy and transparency. The article tries to describe the potential influences that all these trends may have on implementation processes and to highlight how they can attract a special attention of researchers.