Policy Formation: ‘Dual-Policy Transfer’ and the 1991 Child Support Act

  • Leanne McCarthy-Cotter


This chapter begins the examination of the formation of the 1991 Child Support Act. It assesses the role of policy transfer in both the creation and failure of the Act. The chapter argues that in the case of the 1991 Child Support Act it was not exclusively a case of policy transfer from one country to another, rather what took place was ‘incoherent dual policy transfer’. An inconsistent mix of the DSS’s attempt to introduce an appropriate, complete, and informed policy transfer from Australia, and Thatcher and the Treasury’s determination to introduce what was inappropriate, incomplete, and uninformed policy transfer from America. The chapter argues that there was no condensing process, whereby a strategic plan was devised to integrate elements of both policies; instead, both groups of actors fed directly into the new policy. It ends by suggesting that Thatcher and the Treasury allowed the DSS to undertake policy transfer from Australia, only to undermine it by injecting parts of their policy, as the policy presented by the DSS seemed more likely to win support. It suggests that Thatcher and the Treasury allowed ‘incoherent dual policy’ transfer to occur, using it as a convert, strategic tool to embed their desired attempt at policy within that of the DSS and LCOs’, just as they did with their definition of the problem.


Policy transfer Australia America Dual policy transfer Policy formation 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leanne McCarthy-Cotter
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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