Administrative justice and the control of bureaucratic decision-making: A study investigating how decision-makers in local authority education departments respond to the work of redress mechanisms

Gill, Christian Olivier Anderson (2016) Administrative justice and the control of bureaucratic decision-making: A study investigating how decision-makers in local authority education departments respond to the work of redress mechanisms. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This socio-legal thesis has explored the factors responsible for explaining whether and how redress mechanisms control bureaucratic decision-making. The research considered the three principal institutions of administrative justice: courts, tribunals, and ombudsman schemes. The field setting was the local authority education area and the thesis examined bureaucratic decision-making about admissions to school, home-to-school transport, and Special Educational Needs (SEN). The thesis adopted a qualitative approach, using interviews and documentary research, within a multiple embedded case study design. The intellectual foundations of the research were inter-disciplinary, cutting across law, socio-legal studies, public administration, organization studies, and social policy. The thesis drew on these scholarly fields to explore the nature of bureaucratic decision-making, the extent to which it can be controlled and the way that learning occurs in bureaucracies and, finally, the extent to which redress mechanisms might exercise control. The concept of control was studied across all its dimensions – in relation both to ex post control in specific cases and the more challenging notion of ex ante or structuring control. The aim of the thesis was not to measure the prevalence of bureaucratic control by redress mechanisms, but to understand the factors that might explain its presence or absence in a particular area. The findings of the research have allowed for a number of analytical refinements and extensions to be made to existing theoretical and empirical understandings. 14 factors, along with 87 supporting propositions, have been set out with the aim of making empirically derived suggestions which can be followed up in future research. In terms of the thesis’ contribution to existing knowledge, its comparative focus and its emphasis on the broad notion of control offered the potential for new insights to be developed. Overall, the thesis claims to have made three contributions to the conceptual framework for understanding the exercise of control by redress mechanisms: it emphasizes the importance of ‘feedback’ in relation to the nature of the cases referred to redress mechanisms; it calls attention to the structure of bureaucratic decision-making as well as its normative character; and it discusses how the operational modes of redress mechanisms relate to their control functions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Administrative justice, socio-legal studies, empirical legal studies, bureaucratic decision-making, street level bureaucracy, control of public administration, organisational learning, education law and policy, local authorities, courts, tribunals, ombudsmen, accountability.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Mullen, Professor Tom
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Mr Christian Gill
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7714
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2016 11:08
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2016 13:57
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7714

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