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Making social policy work

Making social policy work

John Hills
Julian Le Grand
David Piachaud
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  • Book Info
    Making social policy work
    Book Description:

    Social policy is now central to political debate in Britain. What has been achieved by efforts to improve services and reduce poverty? What is needed to deliver more effective and popular services to all and increase social justice? How can we make social policy work? These are some of the questions discussed in this new and wide-ranging collection of essays by a distinguished panel of leading social policy academics. The book covers key issues in contemporary social policy, particularly concentrating on recent changes. It examines the history and goals of social policy as well as its delivery, focusing in turn on the family and the state, schools, higher education, healthcare, social care, communities and housing. Redistribution is also examined, exploring child poverty, pension reform and resources for welfare. The essays in this collection have been specially written to honour the 70th birthday of Howard Glennerster whose pioneering work has been concerned not only with the theoretical, historical and political foundations of social policies but, crucially, with how they work in practice. It is a collection of primary importance for those working in and interested in policy and politics in a wide variety of fields and for students of social policy, public policy and the public sector.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-278-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. List of tables and figures
    (pp. iv-v)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vi-vi)
  5. Notes on contributors
    (pp. vii-x)
  6. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)
    John Hills, Julian Le Grand and David Piachaud

    How to make social policy work? How can policies be designed so as to achieve the aims of government in the social arena? How can these policies be implemented in such a way so as to promote the desired aims but without damaging other aims that we might wish to pursue? Can we ensure that social policies have only those consequences that are intended?

    Howard Glennerster, whose work has inspired the contributions to this book, has devoted much of his professional life to answering such questions and the book attempts to build on his contributions. It is thus concerned, not...

  7. Part One: The aims of social policy

    • TWO Principles, Poor Laws and welfare states
      (pp. 13-34)
      Jose Harris

      In writing about the history of social policy, ‘Poor Law’ principles have often been unfavourably compared to ‘welfare state’ principles, as strategies and social philosophies for distributing services and resources to persons in need. Poor Law provision has often been associated with policies of concentrating welfare provision on the ‘very poor’, with the exercise of discretion, means testing and character discrimination in determining who should receive public assistance within any given community, and with the denial of civic privileges and social respect. Welfare state provision, by contrast, has been seen as universal in coverage, deliberately detached from assessments of moral...

    • THREE Welfare: what for?
      (pp. 35-56)
      Tania Burchardt

      As the title of this volume suggests, much of Howard Glennerster’s work has been concerned with exploring the most effective means to achieve the goals of social policy. Glennerster has also made a significant contribution to elucidating the intentions of both historical and contemporary policy makers: their stated objectives and the underlying principles for the programmes of reform they have proposed or implemented. This task of uncovering the range of beliefs among policy makers about the purpose of social policy in general, and the welfare state in particular, is important for making social policy work, I shall argue below, because...

  8. Part Two: Delivering social policy

    • FOUR Families, individuals and the state
      (pp. 59-84)
      Jane Lewis

      ‘The family’ is difficult territory for policy makers. There is little consensus on what it should look like these days and politicians in particular often find themselves on dangerous ground if they make judgements about sexual morality or particular forms of intimate relationships. Yet families have always been the most important provider of welfare for young and old dependants and governments have long been concerned about, or have taken for granted, what they are able and willing to do. Family policy issues have reached the top of the policy agenda over the last decade in most western European Union (EU)...

    • FIVE Schools, financing and educational standards
      (pp. 85-108)
      Anne West

      Howard Glennerster has carried out research on almost all the social services, but above all, he has worked on financing systems and the state of welfare (for example, Glennerster and Hills, 1998; Glennerster, 2003). His work on the financing of education is unsurpassed. This chapter takes as its starting point a seminal paper, ‘United Kingdom education 1997–2001’ (Glennerster, 2002), which reviews the achievements of the Labour government’s education policy and in so doing addresses education funding and school performance. In this chapter, these two themes are re–examined in light of the objectives of Labour administrations since 1997.


    • SIX Financing higher education: tax, graduate tax or loans?
      (pp. 109-130)
      Nicholas Barr

      One of life’s battles is between analytical rigour and political feasibility. politics. Academics should follow logic wherever it leads, and the most distinguished do so even in a hostile political environment. Scholars were overrepresented among the active opponents of the communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. In the UK, examples of counter–cultural social policy proposals include support in the late 1980s for judicious experiments with competition in the delivery of healthcare within the National Health Service (Barr, Glennerster and Le Grand, 1988), and agreement with the Conservative policy of GP fundholding in the 1990s (Glennerster and Matsaganis, 1993),...

    • SEVEN Quasi-markets in healthcare
      (pp. 131-146)
      Julian Le Grand

      One of Howard Glennerster’s most significant areas of work has concerned the use of quasi–markets in the public provision of healthcare and education. His many contributions include his analyses of the British Conservative government’s quasi–market in education (Glennerster, 1991) and of the same government’s internal market in healthcare (Glennerster and Matsaganis, 1994a;Glennerster, 1995), work on the development of quasi-markets in public services (Glennerster and Le Grand, 1995) and, perhaps most important, his influential study of general practitioner (GP) fundholding (Glennerster et al, 1994; Glennerster, 1996).

      The Labour government that took power after 1997 initially rejected many of the...

    • EIGHT Social care: choice and control
      (pp. 147-172)
      Martin Knapp

      The ‘mixing’ of the social care economy in the UK has been one of the most notable features of the past two decades, with attention initially focusing on changes to the balance of provision and more recently turning to the sources, balance and routes of funding. Throughout the past two or three decades there has been emphasis on shifting the administrative centre of gravity — initially towards and later somewhat away from local authorities. These broad changes are discussed in this chapter as a platform for considering current quite radical efforts to shift responsibility and power to service users — for example...

    • NINE Neighbourhood renewal, mixed communities and social integration
      (pp. 173-196)
      Anne Power

      This chapter examines the evidence to support a neighbourhood focus for delivering social policy. Howard Glennerster’s work reveals the central importance of understanding how policy works in practice. He recognises neighbourhoods and their management as essential building blocks of applied social policy. His thinking about how we deliver social interventions on the ground has directly influenced efforts at neighbourhood renewal over the past 20 years. Here I present some findings on how neighbourhood renewal in practice addresses the problems of integration and urban recovery. The central questions are:

      1. Why does the neighbourhood affect social conditions?

      2. What is the...

  9. Part Three: Redistribution:between households;over time; between areas

    • TEN The restructuring of redistribution
      (pp. 199-220)
      David Piachaud

      By far the largest component of social policy in Britain measured in terms of government expenditure is the social security system. Despite many changes, this system was for over half a century recognisably the same as that proposed by Beveridge (1942). Over the past decade, however, that system has been radically restructured. Goals have been changed: the guiding mantra has become ‘work for those who can, security for those who cannot’ (DSS, 1998). The period since 1997 is also one in which tackling poverty has been given prominence. In 1999, the Prime Minister set out the goal of abolishing child...

    • ELEVEN Pensions, public opinion and policy
      (pp. 221-244)
      John Hills

      ‘The trouble with the British is that they want European–level services with US levels of tax.’ This quotation, fromWall Street Journalcoverage of the UK General Election of 2001, was used by Howard Glennerster (2003, p 199) to illustrate one of the besetting difficulties facing UK policy makers. The problem is that, in reality, ‘someone has to pay’, as he headlined an early section of his book onUnderstanding the Finance of Welfare. Pensions policy, and the current debate on how we cope with future pressures on pensions, illustrate both the difficulties associated with what may be unrealistic...

    • TWELVE Distributing resources
      (pp. 245-264)
      Tony Travers

      The distribution of resources within the British welfare state has a profound effect on the provision of services from place to place and from individual to individual (see Chapter Ten). During the 20th and 21st centuries, British governments and social scientists have debated, evolved and analysed systems of resource distribution that are at least as sophisticated as any used within other developed democracies. As a result of such policy evolution, the research community (if not politicians) in Britain is relatively well equipped to devise and administer distribution systems with particular social or economic objectives.

      However, there is evidence that policy...

  10. Appendix: Bibliography of Howard Glennerster’s publications
    (pp. 265-276)
  11. Index
    (pp. 277-286)