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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2005): Welfare State - UK

Improving services, improving lives: evidence and key themes

Social Exclusion Unit

London: Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2005

Report looks at how public services can work better for disadvantaged groups of adults (people with low levels of literacy, disabled people, and ethnic minority groups). It looks at the effectiveness of the mainstream public services, including education, health, employment and benefits, and housing, and highlights promising approaches in service delivery to disadvantaged adults.

So near, yet so far

A. Rawnsley

Public Finance, Sept.23rd-29th 2005, p.18-20

Prime Minister Tony Blair is keen to use his third term in office to secure his legacy by pushing ahead with public service reform. In health, this means NHS expanding capacity to facilitate patient choice. This policy is opposed by the Treasury which objects to spending public money on commissioning spare capacity from the private sector. In education, Blair aims to free all schools from local authority control and foster parent choice in order to drive up standards. Local authorities will become commissioners of education services rather than providing them directly. This is likely to be bitterly opposed by local councillors who will be very reluctant to lose control of local schools.

Valuing people, not institutions

R. Greig

Housing, Care and Support, vol.8, Sept. 2005, p.34-39

Traditional social policy in the UK is based on a professional gift model, in which needs are assessed by professionals, who then organise the support they think is required. Author advocates a new approach based on a citizenship model. Here, the person in need has a right, as a citizen, to directly manage and control how state-provided funding is used to enable them to live a full life. This approach shifts power from professionals and institutions to service users.

What works to promote evidence-based practice? A cross-sector review

I. Walter, S. Nutley and H. Davies

Evidence and Policy, vol.1, 2005, p.335-363

Article presents results from a systematic review of the effectiveness of different mechanisms for promoting research use across the health, social care, criminal justice and education sectors. Results suggest that research use is encouraged by interactions between researchers and research users, and by providing a supportive context for the uptake of research. Strategies using multiple mechanisms to encourage research use are also often successful.

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