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Welfare reform on the Web (February 2007): Welfare state - UK

Best of both worlds

J. Bland

Public Finance, Jan. 12th-18th 2007, p.20-21

The UK government is encouraging use of social enterprises to deliver public services, on the grounds that they marry the best of public sector and business values and have the potential to improve quality and efficiency. However, for social enterprises to flourish, authorities need to commission joined-up services delivering multiple outcomes across a wide range of objectives, abandoning their traditional narrow approach. The definition of efficiency and value for money also needs to be changed.

Cash and care: policy challenges in the welfare state

C. Glendinning and P A. Kemp (editors)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2006

Recent social trends and policy developments have called into question the divide between the provision of income support and social care services. This book examines this divide in the light of key trends. It presents new evidence on the links between cash – whether earnings from paid work, social security benefits, or payments to disabled people and carers – and social disadvantage, care and disability. It presents:

  • Theoretical perspectives on the need for and provision of care, which some commentators have described as a ‘new social risk’
  • New insights into traditional forms of risk such as poverty, disability, access to credit and money management
  • Analysis of childcare and informal support for sick, disabled or elderly people in the context of increasing female labour market participation and the introduction of cash allowances to pay for care
  • A new look at disabled and older people in their roles as active citizens, whose views and experiences should help shape both policy and practice.

Co-production: the third sector and the delivery of public services

V. Pestoff and T. Brandsen (editors)

Public Management Review, vol.8, 2006, p.493-595

This collection of articles examines how third sector involvement has changed the delivery of public services and how this in turn has changed the third sector. Co-operation between the state and the third sector in public service delivery is analysed in terms of:

  • Co-governance - an arrangement in which the third sector participates in the planning and delivery of public services
  • Co-management - an arrangement in which third sector organisations produce services in collaboration with the state
  • Co-production - an arrangement where citizens produce their own services independently of the state

Investing in Britain’s potential: building our long-term future: pre-budget report

HM Treasury

London: TSO, 2006 (Cm 6984)

This pre-budget report presents updated assessments and forecasts relating to the economy and public finances, reports on how the Government’s policies are helping to deliver its long-term goals, and describes the reforms the government is considering ahead of Budget 2007. The report:

  • Shows that the economy is stable and growing and that the Government is meeting its strict rules for the public finances
  • Provides further help for families and children, including that from April 2009 every mother-to-be will be eligible for Child Benefit from week 29 of her pregnancy
  • Improves enforcement of the National Minimum Wage by increasing by 50 per cent the resources to tackle non-compliance
  • Sets out a new ambition for the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review of at least 3 per cent savings per year across central and local government
  • Promotes fairness in the tax system, including action to tackle tax avoidance
  • Makes a new commitment for capital investment in education to rise from £8.3 billion in 2007-08 to £10.2 billion in 2010-11

Pre-Budget Report 2006: small steps in the right direction for employment


Working Brief, issue 180, 2007, p.10-11

This article reviews the key proposals in the December 2006 Pre-Budget Report, covering moves to:

  • Extend the support offered to lone parents who move into paid work by maintaining the In-Work Credit in the current pilot areas for a further six months
  • Improve the Jobseeker’s Allowance intervention regime by offering expert work search support at the new claim stage.
  • Improve enforcement of the National Minimum Wage
  • Provide funding to improve the administration of Housing Benefit and to raise awareness that it is available to those in work
  • Raise the earnings disregard to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit in line with indexation to £15.45 in April 2007, ensuring that claimants gain from increases in the rates of Working Tax Credits
  • Raise the number of Modern Apprenticeships to 500,000 by 2020.
  • Extend Learning Agreements for 16- and 17-year-olds.
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