The treatment of housing in the definition of income used to measure poverty makes a big difference to who is counted as poor. Both the Before Housing Costs (BHC) and After Housing Costs (AHC) measures in current use in the UK pose problems. We compare BHC and AHC income with an alternative measure, overcoming their respective flaws by including in income the difference between the estimated value of housing consumed and housing costs, or net imputed rent. We investigate whether findings about poverty among children and pensioners, and the effectiveness of poverty-reducing policies, are affected by accounting for housing in this way.
The recent welfare-to-work reform requires lone parents with older children to be available for work. This article examines the likely effect of this reform and the proposed extension with regards to the employment rate of lone parents. It is argued that it will not lead to the desired increase in the employment rate of lone parents as the target group is too small and the levels of multiple disadvantages within the group too high. Indeed, Â‘ability to workÂ’ cannot be equated with the age of the youngest child but needs to take into account the characteristics of lone parents as well.
Children's lives have been transformed over the past century. Family incomes have increased, children lead more solitary lives, attitudes to childhood have changed, new products have been developed and commercial pressures on children have increased. The importance of these commercial pressures is analysed. Do children understand advertising? How is child poverty affected? How does increased materialism affect psychological well-being? The issues raised for public policy are discussed in terms of children's freedom, the rights of children and the protection of children. Finally, the future of childhood is considered and choices between constraining commercial pressures or not are considered.
The drive to reduce child poverty is of particular interest in southern Europe, where public assistance to low-income families with children is often meagre or not available at all. The paper examines the effect of income transfers to families in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal using a benefit-tax model. The distributional impact of actual programmes is shown to be weak, hence the scope for reform great. As an illustration, the European benefit-tax model EUROMOD is used to simulate universal child benefits equivalent to those in Britain, Denmark and Sweden. The anti-poverty effect of such benefits is found to be in proportion to their fiscal cost.
This paper describes the development of ‘case histories’ from a qualitative longitudinal data set that followed 100 young people's transitions to adulthood over a ten year period. The paper describes two stages in the analytic process: first, the forging of a case history from a longitudinal archive and second, bringing case histories into conversation with each other. The paper emphasises two aspects of a qualitative longitudinal data set: the longitudinal dimension that privileges the individual case, and the cross sectional dimension that privileges the social and the spatial context. It is argued that both aspects should always be kept in play in analysis. The paper concludes by reflecting on the ethical and practical challenges associated with the case history approach, heightened by the growing demand to archive and share qualitative longitudinal data sets.
This paper considers what we might expect to be the effect on social policy of Turkish accession to the EU by reviewing the impact of EU membership on social policy in other new member and candidate countries. This effect begins long before membership is finalised, and continues long after membership has been achieved. The patterns of impact can be divided along a number of dimensions: between ‘accession’ and ‘enlargement’; state and civil society; centre and periphery; formal and substantive; and different welfare institutions. In the course of reviewing these variations, the paper reflects upon the nature of social policy itself, and in particular the nature of the European Social Model.
As a result of the new licensing regime introduced in England and Wales in November 2005, the nature of the town/city centre night-time economy and its future development has become a particularly pressing policy issue for local authorities. Among local authorities and local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, continental-style ‘diversity’ – in the sense of a broader mix of participants and forms of entertainment – has emerged as an ideal to be strived for. This article examines the problems faced by those attempting to create diversity and with it the ‘continentalisation’ of the night-time economy in this country.
The future market costs of long-term care for older people will be affected by the extent of informal care. This paper reports on projections of receipt of informal care by disabled older people from their spouses and (adult) children to 2031 in England. The paper shows that, over the next 30 years, care by spouses is likely to increase substantially. However, if current patterns of care remain the same, care by children will also need to increase by nearly 60 per cent by 2031. It is not clear that the supply of care by children will rise to meet this demand.
This paper reports on a study in which unique access to 3 locked psycho-geriatric wards of a hospital allowed ethnographic exploration into everyday social worlds of fourteen people with dementia. Findings indicate abusive practice in the wards and show that participants in receipt of such practice responded with self-defence and resistance, but ultimately were defeated. In a development of Sabat’s (2001) Selfs 1-3 framework, I identify how abusive practice arose due to staffs’ inability to recognise different aspects of patients’ self. Recommendations for practice include integrating a developed Selfs 1-3 framework into staff training and evaluating its impact on practice.
On the surface, the wheelchair appears a simple machine: its function seemingly apparent and its workings relatively uncomplicated. Yet, despite this apparent simplicity, the wheelchair is a complex artefact imbued with a myriad of social as well as technical relations that act simultaneously to exclude and include, confine and liberate, shape and be shaped. The wheelchair's inextricable links to injury and illness have certainly shaped its definition as a medical device. Such a definition has labelled the occupier as passive or ill and shaped a wider understanding of the machine as a prison. Wheelchair users, however, perceive the machine as a means to independence: it enables rather than disables. We present evidence here to suggest that this is not a recent phenomenon as we show how wheelchair access has been on the political agenda for disabled people for most of the twentieth century. The paper also examines the role of the wheelchair in the development of this movement, and we suggest that, as the design of the wheelchair improved, so the demand for better access increased. The final section of the paper looks at how poorly the state and its agents understood the issue of access.
Debate on pension privatisation in Europe has provided useful insights into the diversity of European pension systems in terms of ideological orientation, design features and reform paths followed. However, the gender dimension has often been neglected. Thus a recent analysis states that, depending on predominant social values, pension privatisation may be ‘consistent with the notion of collective responsibility for needs-satisfaction’ (Hyde et al., 2003: 189). Yet the unequal effects of privatisation on men and women are ignored. This article argues that, despite considerable variation among countries in the nature of their private pension schemes, the latter share a failure to incorporate allowances for periods of unpaid caring work over the lifecourse. Comparison of the needs-satisfying capacity of private and public pensions must take account of the situation of those who raise the next generation of producers and taxpayers.
This article presents a review of relevant literature on the issue of the governance of activation. The article starts with some general comments on the state of the art of research on the governance of activation. Putting governance into practice in new service provision models in the policy areas of activation and social policy, the review continues with a discussion of publications on some of the characteristics of these models: marketisation, decentralisation, inter-agency cooperation and individualisation of service provision. It also looks at literature on the implementation of activation, as this provides insight into governance issues from an organisational and street-level perspective.
In the context of risk and resilience, the paper attempts to integrate three strands of research: genetic and mental-health factors, the findings of cohort studies and those of other investigations of educational outcomes. A very wide range of factors, many of them related to disadvantage, bear on such outcomes, but none deterministically. Intelligence, conduct and emotional disorders are all found to influence academic achievement to varying degrees, as do a number of aspects of family, school and the wider social environment. Aspects that contribute to resilience are identified, and the paper concludes with a discussion of interventions to enhance resilience.
This article is based on the findings of research undertaken towards a doctoral thesis funded by the University of Leeds. The research focuses upon the actions and experiences of women asylum seekers and refugees living inWest Yorkshire. While acknowledging that the context in which women find themselves can present a number of barriers, this paper looks at their actions and practices at the individual and collective levels. It illustrates that some women are able to draw on the resources available, and are engaged in activities
that not only assist their own settlement in the host society but also assist the development of support structures for future arrivals of asylum seekers and refugees.
This article contributes to debates about agency (meaning the behaviour of individuals) and structure, by drawing on empirical research into personal debt. Consideration of debt allows for debate about agency and structure beyond the narrow confines of welfare, and for the examination of agency in relation to citizens at different points in the broader socio-economic structure, not solely poor people. Based on the research findings, themselves grounded in interviewees' experience, the question of why two people in the same material circumstances will have different experiences becomes reframed as why two people whose exercise of agency is the same, face very different outcomes? It is argued that while the research supports a ‘both-and’ rather than ‘either-or’ approach to understanding agency and structure, a ‘both-and’ approach still does not fully capture the experience of interviewees. The key point is that the exercise of agency is overlaid onto structural inequality, and it is understanding the exercise of ‘agency within structure’ that is critical.
This paper is concerned with the extent to which the state offers potential for furthering farm women's status and rights. Using case studies of Australia and Northern Ireland, it examines the extent to which the state has intervened to address gender inequality in the agricultural sector. These two locations provide a particularly rich scope for analysis because while Australia has a long history of state feminism and an extensive legislative framework for pursing gender equity, this is not the case with Northern Ireland. At the same time, the restructuring of the state in Northern Ireland, following on from the Belfast Agreement of 1998 and the Northern Ireland Act of 1998, has generated new opportunities for state intervention regarding gender equality. Moreover, while gender is now for the first time being placed on the state agenda in Northern Ireland, gender reform is being wound back in Australia, as equity discourses are subsumed by the hegemonic discourses of neo-liberalism.
The reforms to children’s services in the UK brought in by the Every Child Matters Green
Paper and the subsequent Children Act 2004 represent the most significant change in this
area of social policy since 1948. The policy approach has two distinguishing features – an
‘outcomes led’ approach rooted in the views of children and young people about what
constitutes ‘wellbeing’ in their lives, and a partnership approach that recognises these
outcomes can only be achieved through high levels of inter-agency and inter-professional
working. This article suggests that the two features may be in tension, and that during
the process of implementation there is a danger that user defined outcomes will be
re-interpreted to fit in with other organisational and professional agendas. The analysis
draws upon Rick Matland’s framework for exploring the impact of conflict and ambiguity
respectively upon the implementation process.
Choice has emerged as a key idea for the reform of public services in the UK and internationally. This paper explores three sets of problems in the analysis of choice in public policy. First, at what level should we be studying choice (specific mechanisms, national politics, transnational processes and travelling ideas)? Second, what sorts of tendencies, forces and discourses are being mobilised through the politics of choice? Third, we examine the ‘antagonisms of choice’: exploring the different and possibly divergent political conflicts that surround choice in public policy. We examine three types of antagonism: around inequalities, power and publicness.
The focus of this themed section is on identifying gaps in anti-poverty policy towards children and young people. The idea to address this question originated at the conference ‘A Fairer Society? A Review of Policies for Vulnerable Groups’ organised by the Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) at Loughborough University in September 2006. The section offers a combination of papers from the conference (Bradshaw and Richardson; Smith; Sutton) and papers commissioned specifically to deal with gaps in anti-poverty policy towards children and young people (Lloyd; France; Phung). An overview of some useful sources has also been included (Davis and Sandu).
In the last decade, the UK New Labour government has emphasised tenant participation in housing policy. Consequently, those individuals who decide to opt out of participation processes have been problematised as ‘apathetic’, and identified as needing to be ‘empowered’ through professional interventions. Drawing on research about community ownership in Glasgow, this paper argues that tenants' reasons for not getting involved are more than simply lack of interest. Tenants articulated an instrumental approach to participation, and rejected the conflation of tenant participation with tenant management. Practical barriers also obstructed their latent motivation.
Against the background of the ‘Inspiring Communities’ programme to raise ‘community level’ educational aspirations in England, this article considers whether the existing
evidence about place and aspirations suggests that it will be beneficial.
We address three questions: Do neighbourhoods have an influence on educational attainment? Are ‘community level’ aspirations a mechanism by which neighbourhoods affect individual aspirations? Is there evidence that aspirations are lower in poor neighbourhoods? The article suggests that the available evidence does not lead to firm conclusions; a
key problem is that few studies have measured aspirations at a neighbourhood level. It suggests that limited spending on a pilot is a reasonable response. However, aspirations
are shaped by a wide range of other influences. This suggests that any interventions on ‘community’ aspirations’ should be conjoined with other programmes to support schools
and to address inequalities between neighbourhoods.
Social experiments have been widely utilised in evaluations of social programmes in the US to identify ‘what works’, whilst in the UK their use is more controversial. This paper explores the paradigmatic, technical and practical issues evaluators confront in using randomised experiments to evaluate social policies. Possible remedies to some of these problems are outlined. It is argued that although no evaluation methodology is problem-free, policy makers and researchers should be more confident about the merits of using random assignment, provided it is used in conjunction with other methodologies more suited to understanding why and how interventions work.
The current emphasis in European welfare states on increases the relevance of insight into social assistance dynamics and workwork transitions. This article reports on a study that explored the employment, unemployment and social assistance careers of a large group of people who managed to become independent from social assistance by finding a job. Using the databases of social security agencies in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, it investigates the sustainability of social assistance independence and labour market inclusion, and identifies groups that are more or less likely to be confronted with spells of renewed social assistance dependency or unemployment.
This paper argues that the study of social policy can be enriched by a greater focus on the dynamics of the policy process itself. Such a focus needs to transcend the usual descriptive accounts of institutions and implementation methods. The paper draws on a range of theoretical approaches that illuminate the shaping and delivery of policy, from classic theories of power and the state to analyses of the micro-dynamics of the policy-action relationship. The paper explores the contribution of recent developments in governance theory, and assesses contemporary debates about the `modernisation' of the policy process and the focus on evaluating `what works' in social policy.
An education system that is based on the needs of a sedentary community is inherently exclusionary for mobile young people. However, it is increasingly acknowledged that even Gypsy Traveller pupils who have been ‘settled’ for a number of years have limited engagement with the secondary phase of schooling. This paper provides an overview of developments in educational policy that have impacted on educational access for Travellers and draws upon research data generated from a recent five-year study to highlight potential challenges and barriers that continue to hinder their educational achievement. The findings suggest that experience of racism, the impact of cultural dissonance and low teacher expectations may all be contributory factors that affect Gypsy Traveller students’ educational engagement and achievement.
This article draws on the authors’ experience in conducting a recent qualitative longitudinal study in the evaluation of the Pathways to Work Pilot for incapacity benefits
recipients. Findings from the qualitative longitudinal research highlighted issues that might not otherwise have been apparent. This approach to policy-related research provides new perspectives and opportunities for substantive findings. It also presents a number of challenges. Issues arise about how to engage with policy makers when exploring changes over time. Policymakers are often keen to have ‘emerging findings’ from panel data, but an
initial cross-sectional analysis to meet such requirements contains views and experiences of people who subsequently drop out of the panel. The full longitudinal perspective then comes from a smaller group, and there may be some surprises in comparison with the ‘emerging findings’. At the same time, the focus of policy interests may shift during the lifetime of the panel, especially during a pilot or trial in a rapidly developing policy area.
Researchers may be asked to introduce new topics or abandon some lines of enquiry, and may face ethical issues in deciding how to make best use of the data.
Full-text of this article is not available in this e-prints service. This article was originally published following peer-review in Social Policy and Society, published by and copyright Cambridge University Press. The voluntary sector has been mainstreamed into public policy with consequences that include more reliance upon the time, commitment and skills of volunteers. In many policy initiatives to combat social exclusion, volunteering is cast as a form of self-improvement and re-training for the workforce. Qualitative research in a disadvantaged community, however, uncovered the persistence of more traditional forms of volunteering associated with mutual support and identification with the needs of others. Policies intended to broaden the base of the volunteer workforce need to recognise and nurture the intrinsic rewards of volunteering.
This article examines the findings of an exploratory case study based on local authority museums in the Scottish Borders to assess the impact of social inclusion policies from the Scottish Parliament. Taken from museum curators’ perspectives, the findings suggest that social inclusion policies have not filtered through the system to reach the curators due to unclear government policy and confusion regarding terminology, strategy and guidelines. Curators found it difficult to engage with social inclusion discourse, despite employing socially inclusive actions in everyday practice. The relationship between the local community and museum was seen to be unique and multi-layered, with a perceived dimension of community ownership, which has implications for social policy on central, local and individual levels.
This paper considers some of the ways in which representations of people experiencing poverty and disadvantaged places continue to be informed by ideas of individual inadequacy, dependency and disorder. Drawing on media reportage of poverty during the Glasgow East by-election in July 2008, it argues not only that people defined as ‘poor’ and locales that are severely disadvantaged continue to be ‘othered’ through such narratives, but also that this provides a clear indication of the ways in which the politics of poverty and state welfare are increasingly being fought-out in the media. It is argued that such misrecognition amounts to social injustice and stands in the way of progressive approaches to poverty and social welfare
In its proposals for achieving a better `work-life balance' for Britain's working families, the New Labour government is also seeking to balance the interests of business against the needs of families. This article argues that the economic policy `trilemma' resulting from economic globalisation is mirrored in a parallel family policy trilemma, with particular consequences for the poorest families. Drawing upon this argument and, partly, upon illustrative evidence from a small-scale qualitative study of low-income working families, it is suggested that promoting family friendly employment alongside a policy of welfare-to-work cannot reasonably be achieved without significant additional regulation of low-paying employers.
Cost has long been a preoccupation in policy documents concerned with the care and support of older people (Means and Smith, 1998; Royal Commission, 1999). A history of moral panic about the ageing population coupled with a stereotype of older people as a dependent and ‘unproductive’ sector of society have combined to produce negatively focused debate, lacking in evidential support. Most recently, Wanless (2006) has highlighted the limitations of the evidence base and the narrowness of debate concerning the provision of social care services, arguing both for more informed debate and for consideration of the impact of developments in services and alternative funding models.
This review explores debates concerning the costs of long-term care for older people, and aims to give an overview of the recent and current research agenda in this area, referring primarily to work published 2000–2006. The focus of much work is on the identification of costs, their distribution and the contexts of policy and delivery of services in which these operate. Live debates concern future costs, their control and related issues of social justice and equity.
Drawing on recent quantitative and qualitative research, we consider lessons of the Scottish policy of free personal care for older people. The policy is embedded in political debates about devolution and interacts with various changing policies on care and support for older people. Evaluation is complicated by these interactions and by gaps in relevant data, especially concerning costs. Operationally, policy implementation has presented varying difficulties for local authorities. For clients and informal carers it remains popular, but is part of a service-led model of provision which does not reflect their own views of their care and support needs.
The nature of welfare regimes has been an ongoing debate within the comparative social policy literature since the publication of Esping-Andersen's ‘Three Worlds of Welfare’ (1990). This article draws upon recent developments within this debate, most notably Kasza's assertions about the ‘illusory nature’ of welfare regimes, to highlight the health care discrepancy. It argues that health care provision has been a notable omission from the wider regimes literature and one which, if included in the form of a health care decommodification typology, can give credence to Kasza's perspective by highlighting the diverse internal arrangements of welfare states and welfare state regimes.
The websites listed here provide electronic resources relevant to different aspects of the costs of long-term care. Many include links to additional reports, research papers, reviews and other sources of information. They should be regarded as a representative sample rather than an exhaustive list of relevant information currently available on the Internet. Only English language sites have been included. All website addresses were available on 30 March 2007.
The papers in the themed section emerge from the work of the ESRC Research Group on Care, Values and the Future of Welfare (CAVA), based at the University of Leeds. CAVA was funded from 1999 to undertake a five-year programme of research into changes in parenting and partnering in Britain and their implications for future social policies. At the heart of CAVA's research is an investigation into the values that people attach to their parenting and partnering activities. We are interested in ‘what matters’ to people in their family lives and personal relationships, especially as they undergo change. This question lay at the centre of our core empirical projects, all of which were based on in-depth qualitative research. (An account of our methodology may be found in the Appendix to this Introduction). The projects focused on different aspects of change: motherhood, care and employment; kin relationships after divorce; care and commitments in transnational families; practices of care and intimacy amongst those who live without a co-resident partner; and collective values of care and support in self-help groups, voluntary organisations and trade unions. Each of these projects is represented in the following collection.
If we are to be able to reflect the cost implications of changes in the nature, quality and productivity of long-term care interventions in future projections, we need an approach to measurement that reflects the value and quality of care. This paper describes a theoretically based but pragmatic approach to identifying the welfare gain from government expenditure on social care and illustrates an application in projecting the costs of long-term care used in the Wanless review of future needs of social care for older people in England.
This paper argues for a transformation of arrangements for accessing and allocating public resources for long-term care in the UK. Currently these arrangements are fragmented, inequitable and not always well targeted. While not necessarily advocating a social insurance approach, the experience of Germany nevertheless shows how simplicity, transparency and equity of access can be combined with strong cost control levers and political sustainability. An opportunity to transform ways of accessing and distributing public resources for long-term care arises with the piloting of ‘individual budgets’ in 13 English local authorities from 2006. The paper argues that the principles underpinning individual budgets should be extended, with the UK government taking a strong national lead.
The assumption of individualised rationality runs through the two dominant theorisations of family behaviour – new household economics and individualisation. We demonstrate the inaccuracy of this assumption, using the results of two CAVA projects into mothers' perceptions and choices in combining mothering with paid work, in allocating tasks with partners, and in choosing childcare. Rather, mothers make such decisions within socially negotiated accounts of what is morally adequate, and we go on to show how these decisions and the values informing them are socially patterned by class and ethnicity. Finally, we consider how both theory and policy can make a ‘rationality mistake’ in neglecting the importance of social ties and moral responsibilities in family life.
Social justice is a policy aim of the UK Labour government. This paper considers the applicability of the concept to disability, seeking to establish principles for conceptualising social justice and disability and considering the nature of the challenges for public policy and society posed by this conceptualisation. The paper considers how disability is implicated in two types of claims about the source of social injustice: those concerned with socially constructed differences between people; and those arising from material inequalities. Appropriate values underpinning alternative conceptions of social justice are discussed and tensions in policymaking considered.
This article evaluates recent transformations in social policy that reflect the tendency towards individualisation in The Netherlands. Such transformations have taken place in old age pensions, widows’ pensions, social assistance and taxation, and in respect of child support following divorce. Interestingly most reforms have not resulted in ‘full individualisation’, but rather have taken into account the fact that people, in particular women, are not or cannot be assumed to be full-time adult workers. Such a ‘moderate individualisation’, however, is not without risks for women’s economic independence, especially when the developments of the Dutch ‘life course perspective’ on social security are considered.
This paper explores the strategies of service providers and the benefits reported by disabled children and their parents/carers in three Children's Fund programmes in England. Based on National Evaluation of the Children's Fund research, we discuss how different understandings of ‘inclusion’ informed the diverse strategies and approaches service providers adopted. While disabled children and families perceived the benefits of services predominantly in terms of building individual children's resilience and social networks, the paper highlights the need for holistic approaches which have a broad view of inclusion, support children's networks and tackle disabling barriers within all the spheres of children's lives.
Readers of this journal will have seen themed sections on partnerships, governance and citizenship (volume 5, issue 2) and ‘consumerism in social policy (volume 2, issue 1) and might be asking exactly why a further one that combines these elements is now necessary. Having considered similar topics separately in these pages, why is it now necessary to look at them together?
This paper introduces and illustrates the value of a classification trees approach in the study of resilience. The inherently interactive nature of the resilience construct makes this approach useful. Classification trees are a person-centred approach to data analysis, which successively split the sample into pairs of increasingly homogeneous groups of individuals. We outline the approach and then illustrate using adult educational outcomes for children in the British Cohort Study of 1970 who had experienced foster care. The insights gained from the classification tree approach are contrasted with those obtained from standard regression approaches.
Participatory evaluation gives primacy to the experience of people affected by the policy. How realistic is it for researchers to persuade government of its benefits, given the gap between participatory policy theory and government evaluation practice? We apply this question to the Resident Support Program evaluation. The program coordinates support for people living in boarding houses and hostels in Queensland, Australia. We found that a participatory, longitudinal, formative evaluation process facilitated service user contribution to research outcomes, service experiences and policy implementation. In addition, the values position of participatory research can contribute to managing interest conflict in policy implementation. Yes Yes
This historically situated, UK-based review of New Labour’s human rights and mental health policy following the 1998 Human Rights Act (HRA) and 2007 Mental Health Act (MHA), draws on Klug’s identification of three waves of human rights. These occurred around the American and French Revolutions, after World War II, and following the collapse of state communism in 1989, and the article assesses impacts on mental health policy up to and including the New Labour era. It critiques current equality and rights frameworks in mental health and indicates how they might be brought into closer alignment with third wave principles.
This historically situated, UK-based review of New Labour's human rights and mental health policy following the 1998 Human Rights Act (HRA) and 2007 Mental Health Act (MHA), draws on Klug's identification of three waves of human rights. These occurred around the American and French Revolutions, after World War II, and following the collapse of state communism in 1989, and the article assesses impacts on mental health policy up to and including the New Labour era. It critiques current equality and rights frameworks in mental health and indicates how they might be brought into closer alignment with third wave principles.
Since coming to office, New Labour has made much of a ‘public philosophy’ that stresses the importance of equal access to opportunities. This article does not so much criticise this fairly modest understanding of social justice as ask whether the kind of social policies that New Labour has devised are capable of delivering ‘opportunity for all’. The suggestion is that, because ‘targeted’ policies – Labour’s local regeneration initiatives are the example taken here – face intrinsic difficulties as vehicles for social inclusion and thus greater equality of access to opportunity, they need to be supported by a wider commitment to distributive justice.