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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2003): Welfare State - UK

AN AWEFULLY BIG ADVENTURE

T. Travers

Public Finance, Aug.22nd-Sept.4th 2003, p. 18-21

The present government has relied on targets to improve standards in public services such as health care and education. In spite of massive investment, visible improvements have not been forthcoming. Author suggests an alternative approach might be to manage downwards public expectations with regard to service improvements.

A BETTER CHOICE OF CHOICE: QUALITY OF LIFE, CONSUMPTION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

R. Levett

Fabian Society, 2003

Discusses the impact of consumer choice on the environment and on public services. Argues that parental choice in education has led to successful schools cherry picking bright pupils, while unpopular ones are left to cope with the remainder. Suggests that as far as public services are concerned, "standards should be recognised as more important than choice, and the state as a more effective provider than the private sector".

THE COMPACT: ATTEMPTS TO REGULATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR IN ENGLAND

W. Plowden

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, vol. 32, 2003, p.415-438

Gives the history of the UK government's attempts since 1996 to regulate the relationship between the state and the voluntary and community sector through a "concordat" or "compact". This document embodies agreed guidelines for good practice in the conduct of relationships between government at all levels and the voluntary sector. The basic Compact has been supplemented by a series of more detailed "codes" which regulate the behaviour of both parties in areas such as funding, use of volunteers, consultation, etc. Current questions include whether their existence can be made known to the thousands of individuals and organisations involved, and whether, having no legal force, they can effectively restrain inappropriate behaviour.

HOW TO BE A MODERN CITIZEN: CHEAT, LIE, SELF-DESTRUCT AND BE ANTI-SOCIAL

T. Dalrymple

Times, Aug.29th, 2003, p.20

Argues that the British welfare state rewards people in need due to their own irresponsible behaviour, while refusing succour to innocent victims of crippling diseases.

INSIDE THE LABORATORY: THE NEW POLITICS OF PUBLIC SERVICES IN WALES

S. Davies

London: Catalyst, 2003

The Welsh Labour government's policies on public services point away from consumerism, competition, targets and co-payments and towards new partnerships with local government and unions and an insistence on universality and equality.

IS THE GOVERNMENT OFF-TARGET WITH TARGETS?

J. Griffith

Working Brief, no.147, 2003, p.20-21

The Labour government has relied heavily on targets to achieve public service improvements in areas such as education and health. Article reviews the use of targets, their benefits and flaws, and how they can be used more effectively.

TARGET PRACTICE

Guardian Society, August 2003, p. 2-4

Controversy over children's services and foundation hospitals has dominated the headlines, so how much progress has the government made in meeting promised improvements across public services? Guardian writers take a summer inventory including children, health, housing, poverty and regulators.

UNITED KINGDOM NATIONAL ACTION PLAN ON SOCIAL INCLUSION 2003-05

Department for Work and Pensions

Hayes: 2003

This is the UK contribution to the European Union's goal of a significant reduction in poverty across Europe by 2010. The UK has set itself the target of halving child poverty by 2010 and eradicating it by 2020. Summarises a range of policy initiatives that will contribute to this objective.

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