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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2000): Welfare State - UK

BLAIR PLANS REVOLUTION IN PUBLIC SPENDING

T. Baldwin

Times, Mar. 24th 2000, p. 4 & 8

Reports government plans to revolutionise public spending by channeling money directly to frontline services, bypassing "middle men" such as local education authorities, chief constables and NHS trusts. This will inevitably lead to greater central government control of services.

(See also Independent, Mar. 24th 2000, p. 2)

COUNCILS URGED TO SELL COSTLY ASSESTS

P. Hetherington

Guardian, Apr. 6th 2000, p. 12

Reports that the Audit Commission is urging councils to sell assets such as airports and the freehold of shopping centres, to fund services such as education and social care.

DEVELOPING INDICATORS: THE SCOPE FOR PARTICIPATORY APPROACHES

F. Bennett and C. Roche

New Economy, vol. 7, 2000, p. 24-28

Article asks what lessons can be learned from international development approaches to exploring and using indicators of poverty and social exclusion. It investigates the composite indicators used in the United Nations Human Development Report, particularly those relating to industrialised countries, and then examines the scope for incorporating a participatory approach to the further development of indicators of poverty and social exclusion in the UK.

DON'T CHASTISE POOR, SAYS KILFOYLE

G. Jones

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 28th 2000, p. 2

Reports attack on the government by the former minister Peter Kilfoyle in which he accused it of blaming the victims of poverty and deprivation for their plight.

(see also Independent, Mar. 28th 2000, p. 8; Times, Mar. 28th 2000, p. 15; Financial Times, Mar. 28th 2000, p. 2)

THE EMERGING FACE OF SERVICES

G. Kelly

Public Finance, Mar. 3rd-9th 2000, p. 18-20

The Labour government is in favour of major increases in funding for public services at the same time as being receptive to new thinking about an expanded role for the private and voluntary sectors in their provision. The end product has been the use of private-public partnerships and private contractors in healthcare, social care and education. A distinction is drawn, however, between core services such as clinical services in healthcare and ancillary services such as cleaning. The latter often form part of a PPP contract while the former do not.

GIVE US THE INCENTIVE AND WE WILL PAY OUR OWN WAY

F. Mount

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 27th 2000, p. 20

As voters will not tolerate any increases in direct taxation, extra funding for health and education will need to be found through a combination of direct charging and private insurance. Proposes that families should be given tax relief on what they spend in these areas.

THE GOVERNMENT - VOLUNTARY SECTOR COMPACTS: GOVERNANCE, GOVERNMENTALITY, AND CIVIL SOCIETY

J. Morison

Journal of Law and Society, vol. 27, 2000, p. 98-132

Account attempts to look at a particular exercise of power taking place outside the formal constitution and at how it is structured by wider processes. It provides an examination of the four compact documents drawn up by government and representatives from the voluntary sectors in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These seek to structure a new partnership between the formal state, and those parts of the voluntary sector that are open to moving from a traditional welfarist ethos towards a more managerial and economist one as they perform functions that at one time were considered the direct responsibility of government bureaucracy.

INTRODUCING EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE: THE CONTRASTING EXPERIENCE OF HEALTH CARE AND PROBATION SERVICE ORGANISATIONS IN THE UK

S. Nutley and H. T. O. Davies

Public Policy and Administration, vol. 14, Winter 1999, p. 39-57

The implementation of evidence-based practice in the probation service has been a top down Home Office and senior management led process which has endeavoured to bring about organisation-wide change by using a combination of new supervision programmes, strengthened monitoring arrangements and structural reorganisation. The change to an evidence-based service within healthcare has been a largely professionally led activity based around improving practitioner skills, knowledge and attitudes. Getting to grips with evidence has been somewhat separate from the restructuring agenda which has been largely politically motivated and managerially led. The extent of engagement with the evidence by practitioners is still patchy and sporadic.

OPEN ALL HOURS?

Results from the People's Panel, Issue no. 5, 2000, 4p.

Results of a consultation exercise with the People's Panel showed considerable demand for the availability of public services during weekday evenings and on Saturdays. People asked for better access to social services, doctors' surgeries, NHS hospitals for non-emergencies, the Passport Agency and local councils in general.

PATTERNS OF INDEPENDENT GRANT-MAKING IN THE UK

J. Vincent and C. Pharoah

London: Charities Aid Foundation, 2000-05-22

Report examined to what extent grant funding reflected government priorities on spending in the voluntary sector. Findings showed that grant funding was targeted on social care, especially projects aimed at young people, education, health and the arts. Analysis of publicly available documentation showed that 25% of trust expenditure went to voluntary organisations working in the field of social care.

REACHING OUT: THE ROLE OF CENTRAL GOVERNMENT AT REGIONAL AND LOCAL LEVEL

Performance and Innovation Unit, 2000

Concludes that lack of joined-up thinking and excessive bureaucracy are undermining efforts to tackle social exclusion, raise education standards and facilitate sustainable development. Central government initiatives which affect the same people in local areas are run separately and not linked together. This reduces their effectiveness and imposes unnecessary management burdens on local organisations. Proposes:

  • strengthening Government Offices for the Regions;
  • strengthened ministerial and Whitehall co-ordination of policy initiatives and of Government Offices;
  • greater focus on strategic outcomes of central government initiatives affecting local areas;
  • making greater linkage of area initiatives a priority of the Spending Review in 2000.

THE STATE OF DEPENDENCY: WELFARE UNDER LABOUR

F. Field

London: Social Market Foundation, 2000 (SMF paper; 45)

Argues that the extension of means-tested benefits under the new Labour government will penalise those who work harder, those who save, and those who tell the truth about their financial position. Advocates the repositioning of welfare on a contract or insurance basis, under which contributions would be paid and the returned benefits would be guaranteed on the basis of those earmarked payments.

TACKLING INEQUALITIES: WHERE ARE WE NOW AND WHAT CAN BE DONE?

C. Pantazis and D. Gordon (editors)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2000

The gap between rich and poor in terms both of income and wealth is now wider than at any time since World War II. The government's numerous area-based anti-poverty policies (eg Health Action Zones, Employment Action Zones and Education Action Zones) are unlikely to have any significant effect. The New Deal is likely to be undermined by the lack of jobs in cities, while Health Action Zones are unlikely to make much impact on health in equalities since the money has been allocated to areas that put in the best bid, not those in greatest need. The New Deal for Communities targeted at the worst council estates will fail to tackle bad conditions in the private rented sector.

TRACKING POVERTY: MONITORING THE GOVERNMENT'S PROGRESS TOWARDS REDUCING POVERTY

L. Harker

New Economy, vol. 7, 2000, p. 14-17

Presents a critique of the measures the government is using to monitor the success of its anti-poverty strategy. The effectiveness of these indicators is limited by:

  • lack of current data;
  • lack of a truly comprehensive set of measures;
  • difficulties in collating national and local data.

WARNING SHOTS FROM THE FRONTLINE

J. Beecham

Guardian, Mar. 31st 2000, p. 22

Argues that the new policy of funding frontline services directly from Whitehall hands central government too much power and could herald the death of local democracy.

WORKING IN THE RISK SOCIETY: FAMILIES PERCEPTIONS OF, AND RESPONSES TO, FLEXIBLE LABOUR MARKETS AND THE RESTRUCTURING OF WELFARE

D. Quilgars and D. Abbott

Community, Work and Family, vol. 3, 2000, p. 15-36

Paper examines the responses of individuals and families to the increasing casualisation of the labour market and the restructuring of the welfare state. Study shows that individuals and families make complex assessments of labour market risk which do not necessarily accord with more objective measures and assumptions made at a policy level, and that they are not always able or willing to protect themselves through purchase of private insurance or saving. Concludes that current labour and welfare policies leave many families, particularly those in the lower socio-economic groups, vulnerable to the impacts of a flexible labour market.

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