Inspectors and Enforcement at the Front Line of Government

  • Steven Van de Walle
  • Nadine Raaphorst

About this book


This book explores the social dynamics of the interaction between inspectors and their inspectees in the public sector. Government inspectors have a crucial role in enforcing rules and standards. The role of inspectors has changed. Their task is no longer to merely inspect and enforce, but also to educate, to negotiate, and to make compromises. Their decisions come about as a result of an interaction with inspectees: Do I punish or do I let go? Do I negotiate or do I issue a fine? Do I believe what this inspectee is telling me? Using insights from public administration, regulation and sociology, this book looks at the daily work of a diverse group of inspectors such as tax inspectors, veterinary inspectors, school inspectors, environmental inspectors or health inspectors.

Steven Van de Walle is Professor of Public Management at the Public Governance Institute, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. His research focuses on public sector reform and service interactions between citizens and government.

Nadine Raaphorst is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Public Administration, Leiden University, The Netherlands. Her research focuses on interactions between bureaucrats and citizens, and on street-level decision making.


street-level bureaucracy inspection work inspector uncertainty street-level inspectors bureaucratic encounter uncertainty bottom-up perspective frameworks information seeking knowledge school inspection visible and invisible maps fare evasion bus transportation deviance enactment interacionism contradictory signals identity theory

Editors and affiliations

  • Steven Van de Walle
    • 1
  • Nadine Raaphorst
    • 2
  1. 1.Public Governance InstituteKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Institute of Public AdministrationLeiden UniversityThe HagueThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information

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