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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2012): Welfare state - UK

Beyond value? Measuring the costs and benefits of public participation

W. El Ansari and E. Andersson

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 19, no.6, 2011, p. 45-57

Public and patient involvement is increasingly important in UK health and social policy. However, actual costs and benefits of public participation are rarely measured other than as proxies or as only 'measuring the measurable'. This paper explores whether the economic analysis of participation would further or undermine public involvement in health settings. It is concluded that public participation in health and social care decisions benefits society. However, the literature points to a dearth of useful information on the monetary value of costs/benefits of participation. This is a problem as decisions are then made without adequate evidence. Simply applying standard cost-benefit approaches is unworkable, as these do not capture the intangible benefits of participation. There is a need for innovative indicators that capture the costs and benefits of public participation, as well as appropriate resources for the economic analysis of such initiatives.

Community budgets are 'catalyst for change'

L. Higgs

Children and Young People Now, Jan. 24th-Feb. 6th 2012, p. 8-9

The coalition government's community budgets pilot scheme aims to go further than ever before in giving local areas powers to combine resources into a single pot and redesign provision for local people. The first phase of the pilot, which started in April 2011, focused on using the pooled budgets to support families with multiple problems. The second phase involves two strands, called 'whole place' and 'neighbourhood level' community budgets. 'Whole place' community budgets will pool budgets to fund all services provided by the public, voluntary and community sectors in a given area from a single local pot. 'Neighbourhood level' community budgets will transfer funding to local communities to spend on the services people want.

The end of the UK's liberal collectivist social model? The implications of the coalition government's policy during the austerity crisis

D. Grimshaw and J. Rubery

Cambridge Journal of Economics, vol.36, 2012, p. 105-126

The UK social model is essentially a hybrid, sometimes referred to as liberal collectivism or market collectivism. New Labour attempted to intensify both the liberal element - through its embracing of markets, choice and private finance for public services, work first and flexible labour markets - and the collectivist element - by using public expenditure to foster employment and better services, by providing a range of higher minimum guarantees in the labour market and social protection system, and increasing support for working parents and redistributing resources to poor families. Under the coalition government, policy almost exclusively emphasises the liberal element and seeks to withdraw state funding and indeed responsibility from many areas of intervention. The key notion is that the amorphous and unaccountable 'Big Society' can be empowered to provide services instead of the state. In summary, analysis suggests that the coalition is intent on a withdrawal of the state that can be characterised as an attempt to make the UK model fit the textbook model of a liberal market economy with a residual welfare state.

PM's plan 'overstretched and underfunded'

J. Mahadevan

Children and Young People Now, Jan. 10th-23rd 2012, p.10-11

This article raises concerns about the government's initiative to deploy keyworkers to help troubled families get their lives back on track. In the first place, the government has not clearly defined what constitutes a troubled family. Secondly, the 448m funding promised will be insufficient to cover the costs of intensive intervention, even when matched by local authorities.

Why should the most vulnerable suffer most from the cuts?

R. Trustam

Community Living, vol. 25, no.2, 2011,p. 8-9

Research by the Centre for Welfare Reform has shown that local authorities face the largest central government funding cut at 28%. At worst, 34% and at best 19% of the burden of these cuts will fall on the 3% of the population with the most severe disabilities in the form of cuts to social care services. At the same time Demos has found some authorities are much better than others at shielding disabled people from the effects of the cuts.

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