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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2007): Social security - UK

Green paper on welfare reform: what should jobcentre plus deliver?

P. Warner

Working Brief, Sept. 2007, p. 5-6

The author, who is national operations manager of the Association of Learning Providers, comments on the government green paper In work, better off, pointing out that:

  • It does not set a firm timeline against the 80% employment aspiration, nor make it any kind of target
  • It does not rule out moving welfare to work services into the hands large facilities management companies and multinationals, squeezing out small providers
  • It does not make any concrete proposals on how to improve provision for the economically inactive, merely suggests an overall structure within which provision may work.

Lone parents and Job Seeker's Allowance

K. Bell

Working Brief, Sept. 2007, p. 3-4

The government has proposed moving lone parents from Income Support to Job Seeker's Allowance as soon as their youngest child reaches the age of seven. This would expose lone parents to harsh sanctions, including loss of their entire entitlement, for failing to engage in work related activity. The author calls on the government to facilitate the entry of lone parents into the workplace by ensuring that flexible working opportunities become more widely available.

New Labour, new dads: the impact of family friendly legislation on fathers

E. Caracciolo di Torella

Industrial Law Journal, vol. 36, 2007, p. 318-328

Since 1997 the New Labour government has introduced a host of new rights for working parents to improve the balance between work and family life. These include improvements to maternity leave and pay, a new right to paternity and parental leave, the possibility to request flexible working arrangements, and the possibility to take time off to deal with domestic crises. This legislation ostensibly covers both parents, in response to the growing emphasis that society places on the role of fathers in bringing up children. This article argues that, in spite of the rhetoric, the balance of family friendly legislation is still very much in favour of mothers. The Work and Families Act 2006 has failed to address the situation. It continues to further strengthen the position of mothers and pays only lip service to fathers.

Reforming the United Kingdom's public employment and social security agencies

J. Wiggan

International Review of Administrative Sciences, vol. 73, 2007, p. 409-424

This article analyses the development of the UK's one-stop working age agency, Jobcentre Plus. The new organisation was introduced to tackle the fragmentation and specialisation embedded in the separate administration of employment services and welfare benefits by different agencies. The performance focus and structural organisation of the old agencies, the Employment Service and the Benefits Agency, did not support the 'work first' policy advocated by New Labour . The reforms have delivered the greater concentration on moving people into work that is central to the social and economic objectives of the UK government.

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