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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2009): Welfare state - UK

Duty of care

A. Klaushofer

Public Finance, Feb. 27th - Mar. 5th 2009, p. 20-23

The recession is forcing more people into poverty and is hitting the middle classes hard. This is leading to increased demand for local authority services, especially processing housing and council tax benefit claims. Demand for school places is also rising in some wealthier authorities, as the middle classes withdraw their children from private education. Social services expect problems with domestic violence and alcohol abuse to increase as families come under strain due to unemployment and debt crises. Rising house repossessions due to mortgage arrears may lead to increased pressure on social housing. This article looks at how local authorities and the voluntary sector are coping.

Modernising the welfare state: the Blair legacy

M. Powell (editor)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2008

The book analyses the legacy of Tony Blair's government for social policy, focusing on the extent to which it has changed the UK welfare state. Drawing on both conceptual and empirical evidence, the book offers forward-looking speculation on emerging and future welfare issues. The book's contributors examine the content and extent of change. They explore which of the elements of modernisation matter for their area. Which sectors saw the greatest degree of change? Do terms such as 'modern welfare state' or 'social investment state' have any resonance? They also examine change over time with reference to the terms of the government. Was reform a fairly continuous event, or was it concentrated in certain periods? Finally, the contributors give an assessment of likely policy direction under a future Labour or Conservative government.

Rate your doctors and teachers online

R. Winnett

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 10th 2009, p.1

A range of government-backed consumer web sites is to be introduced which will allow people to write frank assessments of teachers, GPs and police officers. It is hoped that the information will improve people's experiences of public services by helping them to choose the best.

Welfare and well-being: social value in public policy

B. Jordan

Bristol: Policy Press, 2008

Research on well-being reveals the significance of personal relationships, trust and participation to sustain quality of life, yet it is the economic model that remains the dominant basis for political and social institutions and policy. This book presents a new analysis of well-being in terms of social value, and outlines how it could be incorporated into public policy decisions. It argues that the attempt to maximise welfare and regulate social relations through contract, in line with the economic theory of information and incentives, is counterproductive for well-being. Instead, both the quality of personal experience and the restraints necessary for a convivial collective life would be better served by a focus on cultures and institutions.

World class commissioning and local government

N. Walker

Journal of Care Services Management, vol. 3, 2009, p. 144-154

In November 2007 the Department of Health launched its vision for world class commissioning in the NHS, with the aim of creating communities that promote good health and reduce health inequalities. Local government as well as the NHS has a significant role to play in achieving these aims. Local government, as well as the NHS, needs to commission to world class standards. Primary care trusts and local authorities are therefore grappling with the same issues.

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