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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2012): Social security - UK - welfare to work

Hire a hoodie to tackle jobs crisis, says minister

J. Hall and J. Kirkup

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 19th 2012, p. 1 + 2

In a speech to the Policy Exchange think tank, employment minister Chris Grayling urged companies to 'put local recruits first' and resist the easy option of hiring older and more experienced East Europeans. He hoped that employers would help tackle the youth unemployment crisis by taking on local youngsters, who might look on the surface unwilling to work.

Welfare-to-work, agency and personal responsibility

S. Wright

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 41, 2012, p. 309-328

Welfare-to-Work policies in the UK are based on assumptions about how benefits recipients and employment advisers are motivated and make decisions. They are also explicitly designed to change motivation and decision-making, with rewards for profit-making delivery agencies under the Work Programme and sanctions to punish benefits recipients for non-compliance under the Universal Credit. This article outlines the key components of UK welfare-to-work policies, identifies the assumptions they encapsulate about agency and relates these to conceptualisations of human agency drawn from the social policy literature, focusing on moralising agency (the moral dimensions of decision-making and 'bad' behaviour on the part of claimants), differentiating agency (accounting for multiplicity of identities, selves and multipositionality) and interconnecting agency (contextualisation and enactment). A gap is identified between accounts of agency grounded in the lived experiences of service users, front-line workers and policymakers and the hypothetical models of agency (e.g. rational economic man) that have influenced policy design.

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