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Welfare reform on the Web (October 2006): Welfare state - UK

Harnessing the potential of the social economy? Time banks and UK public policy

G. Seyfang

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol.26, 2006, p.430-443

The UK government responds very positively to the social economy, viewing voluntary and community organisations as potential providers of social cohesion, public services and sustainable development. However, this case study of the operation of time banks reveals that existing policy on work and the welfare benefits system are barriers to realising the potential of the sector. For example, time bank participants can exchange time credits for goods such as second hand computers which are regarded as earned income for tax purposes, and disabled people can find their Incapacity Benefit cut because contributing effort to a time bank is regarded as evidence of ability to work.

Reaching out: an action plan on social exclusion

HM Government

London: Cabinet Office, 2006

This plan sets out a programme of work across government to improve the life chances of those who suffer, or are judged at risk of, social exclusion. The government intends to break the cycle of disadvantage by focusing on prevention and early intervention in families deemed at risk. The approach will be based on the key principles of: 1) early identification and follow-up of families at risk; 2) systematically identifying “what works” in intervention programmes; 3) promotion of multi-agency working and data sharing; 4) exploration of service delivery based on budget-holding lead professionals brokering tailored packages of support; and 5) early intervention with under-performing local authorities.

Time for Armstrong to deliver

M. Ahmed

Community Care, Sept. 14th-20th 2006, p.16-17

Social exclusion minister Hilary Armstrong has been given a brief which includes improving early identification of the most at risk families, reforming services for children in care, reducing teenage pregnancies and improving services for people with mental health problems. Armstrong’s plan for supporting dysfunctional families involves a scheme where health visitors or children’s centre workers will monitor and assist them from before their babies are born until they are aged two.

Time to take the plunge

R. Gutch

Community Care, Aug.24th-30th 2006, p.32-33

This article introduces Futurebuilders England which supports voluntary and community organisations in delivering public services through tailored investment packages of grants, loans and consultancy support. Organisations pay back the loans through full-cost contracts or fees that they secure from commissioners. The scheme helps organisations to develop business plans and improve their computer, governance, financial and management systems so that they compete for contracts and deliver services in a more businesslike way.

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