What might normalisation process theory bring to policy implementation studies? Learning lessons and uncovering questions through a case study of the profound implementation failure of a new policing policy

MacKenzie, M., Bradley, L., Stanley, N., Gannon, M., Barton, D., Cosgrove, K., Conway, E. and Feder, G. (2019) What might normalisation process theory bring to policy implementation studies? Learning lessons and uncovering questions through a case study of the profound implementation failure of a new policing policy. Social Policy and Administration, 53(3), pp. 449-463. (doi:10.1111/spol.12467)

MacKenzie, M., Bradley, L., Stanley, N., Gannon, M., Barton, D., Cosgrove, K., Conway, E. and Feder, G. (2019) What might normalisation process theory bring to policy implementation studies? Learning lessons and uncovering questions through a case study of the profound implementation failure of a new policing policy. Social Policy and Administration, 53(3), pp. 449-463. (doi:10.1111/spol.12467)

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Abstract

Normalisation Process Theory (NPT), used nationally and internationally to explore implementation within health services research, is used for the first time within policing to understand profound policy implementation failure and to generate broader discussion of policy implementation theory. The policy in question (Police to Primary Care [P2PC]) was an intervention designed to notify GPs when women are assessed by police as at high risk of future domestic abuse. Designed to improve interagency communication, it took place amidst radical organisational change. Using qualitative interviews with domestic abuse specialist and frontline officers, this paper addresses how NPT helps to explain the (non)implementation of P2PC, how such an analysis differs from other policy implementation approaches, and what this means for our understandings of policy implementation more broadly. NPT proved useful in understanding mechanisms leading to (non)implementation of the intervention: fuzzy alignment with existing practice, faulty communication of purpose, and inattention to discretionary implementation spaces. It helped us understand why the intervention came to be invisible. Dwarfed by its organisational context, made institutionally hard to read by a lack of formal protocols, and given restricted view to police officers, it was compromised by a failure to instigate systems of organisational learning. More broadly, NPT helped reveal practices intersecting top‐down and bottom‐up implementation theory. The paper concludes by asking how NPT and theories of street‐level bureaucracy might be better used in tandem and, particularly, how this might help explorations of policy implementation where human actors are joined by technological actors in interpreting and making policy in vivo.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barton, Deborah and Gannon, Ms Maria and Bradley, Dr Lisa and MacKenzie, Professor Mhairi
Authors: MacKenzie, M., Bradley, L., Stanley, N., Gannon, M., Barton, D., Cosgrove, K., Conway, E., and Feder, G.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Social Policy and Administration
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0144-5596
ISSN (Online):1467-9515
Published Online:13 November 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 John Wiley and Sons Ltd
First Published:First published in Social Policy and Administration 53(3): 449-463
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
648381Police to Primary Care - Testing the feasibility and acceptability of a high risk domestic abuse notification pilotMhairi MackenzieChief Scientist office (CSO)CZH/4/990SPS - INST. OF HEALTH & WELLBEING