Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Social policy review 22

Social policy review 22: Analysis and debate in social policy, 2010

Ian Greener
Chris Holden
Majella Kilkey
Copyright Date: 2010
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Social policy review 22
    Book Description:

    Social Policy Review 22 presents a diverse review of the best in social policy scholarship. It brings together specially commissioned reviews of key areas, research examining important debates in the field, and considers a range of issues including assessments of Labour's social policy after three terms in office, service-user involvement and the labour market impact of the economic crisis along with the winner of the SPA's best postgraduate paper award. It is essential reading for academics and students in the field, but more generally for anyone interested in contemporary social policy.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-713-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. List of tables and figures
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. List of contributors
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)
    Ian Greener

    Social policy faces difficult times ahead. The extraordinary debts that governments in developed nations have acquired since 2008 in order to try and deal with the financial crisis must be paid back, and the public spending deficits that they have created are becoming the source of considerable vexation. As I write this in January 2010 it seems that while the banking sector, where much of the crisis originated, is making substantial profits again, with the return of bonuses to bankers despite the anger expressed towards them by President Barack Obama and the British Chancellor Alistair Darling, welfare states across the...

  6. Part one: Current developments

    • ONE Education policy and policy making, 1997–2009
      (pp. 13-30)
      Clyde Chitty

      In the last hundred years – since, in fact, the end of the First World War – there have been two major pieces of legislation affecting the future of the education service in England and Wales: the Education Act of 1944 and the so-called Education Reform Act (ERA) of 1988. There have, of course, been an enormous number of other pieces of legislation, White Papers and Circulars relating to education promulgated over the same period, but the 1944 and 1988 Acts stand out as having special significance. They constitute the backdrop to the educational changes described in this chapter.


    • TWO Children’s social care under New Labour
      (pp. 31-50)
      Mary Langan

      In the early years of the New Labour government after 1997, modernisation through the extension of market and managerial principles was the central theme of policy in relation to social services as in other areas of the public sector (Clarke et al, 2000; Harris, 2003). However, looking back after more than a decade, we can identify a more fundamental transformation in welfare policy in Tony Blair’s third term (2005–07), continuing under Gordon Brown’s premiership after the summer of 2007.

      The distinctive feature of New Labour’s social policy is a shift away from the collectivist, redistributive approach of the post-war...

    • THREE Health policy under New Labour: not what it seems?
      (pp. 51-70)
      Sally Ruane

      This chapter discusses some of the key elements of health policy since 1997 and argues that there is a discrepancy between the appearance of health policy as presented by government during New Labour’s period in office and the reality of its character and significance. New Labour’s approach to communication has drawn considerable attention to the use of ‘spin’ in the management of party and governmental initiatives. Previous experience of damaging newspaper coverage, the 24-hour news media and the insecure position of the Labour Party electorally have all contributed to a discernible shift towards the more cautious and studied management of...

    • FOUR Towards a social democratic pension system? Assessing the significance of the 2007 and 2008 Pensions Acts
      (pp. 71-96)
      Paul Bridgen

      Pension policy over the last few years has been dominated by the debates and legislative agenda that have followed the publication of the Pensions Commission’s final report in 2005. Established in 2002 to ‘report on how the current voluntarist approach [to private savings] is developing’, the Pensions Commission interpreted its brief broadly to produce a wide range of recommendations for both the public and non-state pension sectors (2005, pp 18-22). These will be outlined in more detail below, but the most noteworthy were the suggestion that the basic state pension (BSP) should return to uprating in line with earnings from...

    • FIVE Minimum income standards and household budgets: (Social Policy Association prize-winning paper)
      (pp. 97-118)
      Chris Deeming

      Securing an adequate diet is essential for the maintenance of our health and function in society. In the UK and other modern societies we have looked to the market to manage the risks associated with food supply, yet issues to do with food poverty as insufficient purchasing power at the household level continue to be discussed as a matter of concern (see, for example, Paton et al, 1901; Lindsay, 1913; Paton and Findlay, 1926; Boyd Orr, 1936; Titmuss, 1938; Townsend, 1962; Lambert, 1964; McKenzie, 1971; Shaw, 1999; Dowler et al, 2001; Nelson et al, 2007). One way to determine the...

  7. Part two: Current issues and debates

    • SIX Re-connecting with ‘what unemployment means’: employability, the experience of unemployment and priorities for policy in an era of crisis
      (pp. 121-148)
      Colin Lindsay

      To plan for a society that involves all its members and actively promotes their participation in its work, we have to recognise more fully what unemployment means and how it affects not only those who are forced to waste substantial parts of their working lives, but also the great majority of the population. Until we do, the heaviest costs are borne by many of the poorest members of society, and that whole society is diminished. (Sinfield, 1981a, p 157)

      “In the old days, the problem may have been unemployment, but in the next decades it will be employability. If in...

    • SEVEN Facing the ‘dark side’ of deregulation? The politics of two-tier labour markets in Germany and Japan after the global financial crisis
      (pp. 149-172)
      Steffen Heinrich

      For much of 2009 Germany and Japan appeared to be among the countries most severely affected by the global economic and financial crisis. Apart from a steep decline in quarterly growth rates, they also experienced dramatic employment adjustment processes unseen perhaps since the 1970s. A closer look reveals, however, that the increased unemployment risk in both countries so far has been shouldered almost exclusively by a distinct class of non-regular employees² who together account for over 30% of total salaried employment. By March 2009, for instance, more than a quarter of all temp agency workers in Germany and a similar...

    • EIGHT ‘Flexibility’, xenophobia and exploitation: modern slavery in the UK
      (pp. 173-198)
      Gary Craig

      In 2007, commemorative events were held across the UK marking the bicentennial of the abolition of the British transatlantic slave trade, many implying also that slavery had been abolished. Continuing campaigns of the Anti-Slavery Society and others from the mid-19th century onwards indicate, however, that slavery itself had not been abolished. It persists today (Bales, 2004; van der Anker, 2004), but what is less well known is that modern slavery remains a significant facet of the UK economy. Media coverage focuses typically on the treatment of those in slavery in ‘less-developed’ countries, particularly in Asia and Latin America. Occasional media...

    • NINE Mi Familia Progresa: change and continuity in Guatemala’s social policy
      (pp. 199-224)
      Elena Gaia

      Catching up on recent trends in social assistance in Latin America, in April 2008 Guatemala introducedMi Familia Progresa(MIFAPRO) (My Family is Moving Forward), a conditional cash transfer (CCT) programme. Pioneered in Latin America by Brazil and Mexico during the 1990s, CCTs have acquired prominence in social policy debates over the past 10 years and have spread across all Latin America and many other countries around the world.²

      Used in developmental or humanitarian contexts, CCTs are a form of social assistance that links the provision of cash to the behaviour of the target population, who are required to perform...

  8. Part three: Service user involvement

    • TEN Service users and social policy: developing different discussions, challenging dominant discourses
      (pp. 227-252)
      Peter Beresford

      In 2008, in its third edition and for the first time,The student’s companion to social policy, published by Wiley-Blackwell and with a testimonial from the Social Policy Association describing it as ‘an essential text for all social policy students’, examined the ‘role of users in determining welfare policy’ (Alcock et al, 2008, p xix). This contribution was itself written from a ‘service user perspective’ by a member of a service user organisation and movement (Beresford, 2008). This reference to ‘users’, that is to say, people on the receiving end of welfare policy and practice, not only marks a departure...

    • ELEVEN Participation and social justice
      (pp. 253-274)
      Marian Barnes, Colin Gell and Pat Thomas

      Advocacy of participation by ‘the public’ and of service users in decision making about public policy and services has multiple origins. In the late 1980s it was claimed by sections of the Left as a radical idea that would renew the public sector in order to resist attacks from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and others who sought to replace public services with private markets (Deakin and Wright, 1990). In contrast, for the neoliberals of the political Right, consumerist strategies were a way of limiting the power of professionals and rolling back the state. Creating active consumers was part of the...

    • TWELVE Involving disabled children and young people in research and consultations: issues, challenges and opportunities
      (pp. 275-290)
      David Abbott

      Maresa MacKeith is a young disabled woman who communicates non-verbally using assisted technology. She makes a powerful case for the value and purpose of communication. Disabled children and young people have a long history of exclusion in important aspects of their life – from education, friendships, from active citizenry, from participation. In their interactions with the many professionals, statutory services, and increasingly, researchers who engage with them, there have in the past been too few attempts to find out what the views of disabled children and young people are. Morris (1998a, 1998b) chronicled what seemed to be a common approach...

    • THIRTEEN Responding to unhappy childhoods in the UK: enhancing young people’s ‘well-being’ through participatory action research
      (pp. 291-316)
      Charlie Cooper

      There is a wealth of evidence pointing to a decline in young people’s emotional ‘well-being’ in the UK – particularly among the most disadvantaged – in the last 20 years (Collishaw et al, 2004). The 2007 United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) assessment of children’s and young people’s well-being in 21 ‘advanced’ nations placed the UK bottom (UNICEF, 2007). A similar study of young people’s well-being in 2009 for the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) placed Britain 24th out of 29 European states (CPAG, 2009). Other studies suggest a decline in young people’s well-being in relation to educational experience (Primary Review,...

    • FOURTEEN Service users as peer research interviewers: why bother?
      (pp. 317-336)
      Rachel Harding, Grahame Whitfield and Neil Stillwell

      Drawing on two studies completed within the social housing sector, this chapter asks if there are advantages to peer interviewing, whereby those currently or recently receiving services interview their peers as part of a research project. Contribution is made to the broader methodological debate of how service users should be involved in research about their lives. Along with contributions from a peer interviewer, we examine the benefits to peer interviewers themselves, and whether there are any positive differences for the people being interviewed. This chapter argues that there are clear methodological advantages to peer interviewing as it can lend vital...

  9. Index
    (pp. 337-344)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 345-345)