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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2008): Welfare state - UK

Combined equalities: a symposium

J. Lovenduski (editor)

Political Quarterly, vol. 79, 2008, p. 3-61

Introduces the work of the newly formed Equality and Human Rights Commission which opened for business on October 1st 2007 and replaced the former Commissions for Racial Equality, Equal Opportunities and Disability Rights. The contributors discuss the prospects for the new commission, covering the protracted policymaking process that led to its establishment, assessments of the problems and constraints it will face, and suggestions as to how it might maximise its effectiveness.

From transmitted deprivation to social exclusion: policy, poverty, and parenting

J. Welshman

Bristol: Policy Press, 2007

The book explores the history of debates over 'transmitted deprivation' and their relationship with current initiatives on social exclusion. It explores the content and background to Sir Keith Joseph's famous 'cycle of deprivation' speech in 1972, examining his concern with 'problem families', and the wider policy context of the early 1970s. Tracing the direction taken by the DHSS-SSRC Research Programme on Transmitted Deprivation, it seeks to understand why the Programme was set up, and why it took the direction it did. With this background, the book explores New Labour's approach to child poverty, initiatives such as Sure Start, the influence of research on inter-generational continuities, and its new stance on social exclusion. It argues that, while earlier writers have acknowledged the intellectual debt that New Labour owes to Joseph, and noted similarities between current policy approaches to child poverty and earlier debates, the Government's most recent attempts to tackle social exclusion mean that these continuities are now more striking than ever before. Making extensive use of archival sources, private papers, contemporary published documents, and oral interviews with retired civil servants and social scientists, it documents this important strand of the history of social policy.

Making social policy work: essays in honour of Howard Glennerster

J. Hills, J. Le Grand and D. Piachaud (editors)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2007

Social policy is now central to political debate in Britain. What has been achieved by efforts to improve services and reduce poverty? What is needed to deliver more effective and popular services to all and increase social justice? How can we make social policy work? These are some of the questions discussed in this wide-ranging collection of essays written to honour the 70th birthday of Howard Glennerster whose pioneering work has been concerned not only with the theoretical, historical and political foundations of social policies but, crucially, with how they work in practice. The book covers key issues in contemporary social policy, particularly concentrating on recent changes. It examines the history and goals of social policy as well as its delivery, focusing in turn on the family and the state, schools, higher education, healthcare, social care, communities and housing.

The once and future pioneers? The innovative capacity of voluntary organisations and the provision of public services: a longitudinal approach

S.P. Osborne, C. Chew and K. McLaughlin

Public Management Review, vol.10, 2008, p. 51-70

Using longitudinal data from two research studies in 1994 and 2006, this paper demonstrates a reduction in the innovative activity of voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) in service delivery and a concomitant increase in their developmental activity in the same period. It is argued that the main driver for this shift has been a significant change in the public policy context in which VCOs operate. In 1994 public policy in the UK privileged innovation above other types of activity. This led VCOs to both focus more on innovative work and to portray their other work as innovative, irrespective of its true nature, in order to secure government funding. In 2006, public policy favoured the development and provision of specialist services to enable local authorities to meet their central government performance targets. It may be that innovative VCOs are now driven to portray their work as developmental in order to secure government funding for their activities.

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