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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2001): Welfare State - UK

BANKS AGREE DEAL ON POST OFFICE SERVICES

D. Cameron and R. Shrimsley

Financial Times, Dec 21st 2000, p.2

Six major banks have agreed to offer their own basic banking service through the Post Office's 18,000 branches by 2003. They have agreed to pay an unspecified sum towards the annual running costs of the Post Office services. The Post Office is expected to use the national link cash machine network to connect its own back office systems with the banks. It also plans to launch its own white label bank account into which benefits could be paid by 2002.

BROWN "TO CONSIDER TAX BREAKS FOR VOLUNTARY WORKERS"

R. Bennett

Financial Times, Jan 12th 2001, p.4

Government is considering boosting volunteer recruitment by offering tax breaks to encourage people to aid health, education and social services in their free time. It will also set up a National Experience Corps of over-50s to pass on educational and parenting skills to the community.

BROWN'S ARMY COULD STEAL JOBS, UNIONS SAY

J. Sherman

Times, Jan 12th 2001, p.17

Teaching and health unions have expressed fears that using volunteers to deliver public services could threaten their members' jobs.

(See also Guardian, Jan 12th 2001, p.1).

THE CASE FOR A SMALLER STATE REVISITED

R. Skidelsky

Financial Times, Dec 29th 2000, p.13

Proponents of welfare state retrenchment should emphasise individual liberty and choice, targeting of benefits on the poorest while reducing the tax burden on the better off, and the benefits of introducing competition into service delivery.

COLLABORATION AND PARTNERSHIP: AN EFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO COMPLEXITY AND FRAGMENTATION OR SOLUTION BUILT ON SAND?

C. Miller and Y. Ahmad

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol.20, no.5/6 2000, p.1-38

Article focuses on the growing emphasis given to collaboration in public provision, using case studies from the areas of inner city community-based mental health, urban regeneration, policing and child mental health. Successful collaboration in respect of complex problems between professionals and agencies and across sectors will increase understanding, enhance communication, improve policy planning and produce more effective services. However collaboration in a context of reduced resources, high demand, and growing pressure on frontline professionals may simply lead to dumping of difficult clients. Collaborative practice cannot succeed unless resource questions are addressed.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM: THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE THIRD WAY IN THE UK

K. Popple and M. Redmond

Community Development Journal, vol.35, 2000, p.391-400

Under the New Labour government, the voluntary sector is emerging as provider of state welfare services, which it can deliver more cheaply than public sector organisations. This has given community development a funding boost, but there is a danger that it will be used by government as a tool to placate disaffected communities. This runs counter to its core values of acting as a liberator among the poorest in society.

EUROPE AND THE "AMERICANIZATION" OF BRITISH SOCIAL POLICY

J. Holmwood

European Societies, vol.2, 2000, p.453-482

Suggests that structural adjustment in the UK economy in response to the decline of the Imperial/Commonwealth trading bloc is largely responsible for reforms of the British welfare since membership of the EU.

HOW SHOULD WE VALUE OUR ANGELS OF MERCY?

S. Jenkins

Times, Dec 20th 2000, p.16

Argues that morale among public sector workers such as nurses and teachers is low not because of poor pay but because of the impact of the new managerialism, which is leading to loss of professional autonomy and the imposition of a nightmare bureaucracy.

LET THE PEOPLE LOOK AFTER THEMSELVES

G. Brown

Times, Jan 11th 2001, p.22

Proposes that government should increasingly hand over responsibility for provision of a range of public services to local voluntary and charitable organisations. Services provided by community groups might include adult learning, health promotion, mentoring schemes and under-fives provision. Most adults will be expected to spend 2 hours a week doing voluntary work.

NEW LABOUR AND THE ENABLING STATE

I. Taylor

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol.8, 2000, p.572-379

The notion of the enabling state gained currency in the UK during the 1990s as an alternative to the "providing" or welfare state. The creation of an internal market in the NHS in the 1990s and the associated purchaser-provider split appeared to transfer "ownership" of services increasingly to the providers (hospitals and GPs). The mixed economy of care that was stimulated by the 1990 NHS and Community Care Act appeared to offer local authorities the opportunity to enable non-state providers to offer care services. The new service charters were also part of the process because they offered users more opportunity to influence provision. Article examines how far service providers were enabled and assesses the extent to which New Labour's policies enhance or reject the "enabling state" in favour of more direct provision.

ON LOCATION IN PFI-LAND

J. Mair

Public Finance, Dec 1st-7th 2000, p.22-24

Reports investigation of four PFI schemes in East Anglia, including a school and a hospital. Comments on the lack of publicly available financial information about the schemes, particularly on the question of the cost to the public purse of paying the private partner back the money they have invested, with profits.

THE POINT OF VOLUNTARY WORK IS IT'S OUR CHOICE

M.A. Sieghart

Times, Jan 12th 2001, p.24

Supports using volunteers, especially the early retired, to improve public services at very little cost. Expresses fear that exhortations to volunteer may fall on deaf ears as they come from a government which has squandered its ethical capital.

THE THIRD WAY LIVES ON, WHATEVER IT IS CALLED

P. Riddell

Times, Dec 18th 2000, p.12

Explores the question of whether it is possible for centre left parties in government to run successful capitalist economies without abandoning their commitment to social justice.

TROJAN HORSE FOR THE COUNTRYSIDE

S. Pugsley

Public Finance, Dec 8th-14th 2000, p.26

The recent rural white paper has introduced the concept of a Rural Services Standard. This would provide minimum standards and targets for access to and delivery of public services in rural areas, including health and social services, the Benefits Agency and the Employment Service. It may lead to more funds being allocated to rural areas to support local services.

UNIONS IN CALL TO CURB PRIVATE ROLE IN STATE SECTOR

R. Watson

Times, Dec 19th 2000, p.8

Reports that unions and senior Labour MPs are calling for a freeze on all PFI schemes for the building of schools and hospitals in the light of concerns expressed by the National Audit Office about the part privatisation of London Underground.

WHY MR BLAIR MUST GIVE POWER TO THE PEOPLE

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Jan 15th 2001, p.23

Health and education services have been rigidly controlled, monitored and directed by central government under the New Labour regime. This has demotivated and demoralised staff. In order to make the best use of the investment being poured in by the government, staff at local level need to be given the freedom to develop innovative solutions within a framework of national targets. Government should intervene only in case of failure.