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Social Policy Review 20

Social Policy Review 20: Analysis and debate in social policy, 2008

Tony Maltby
Patricia Kennett
Kirstein Rummery
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  • Book Info
    Social Policy Review 20
    Book Description:

    Social Policy Review provides students, academics and all those interested in welfare issues with critical analyses of progress and change in areas of major interest during the past year. Contributions reflect key themes in the UK and internationally. The first part of the collection focuses on developments and change in core UK social policy areas. Part two provides in-depth analyses of topical issues from both UK and international perspectives, while this year's themed section examines 'Gender and policy'.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-352-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)
    Tony Maltby, Patricia Kennett and Kirstein Rummery

    This year’sSocial Policy Review(SPR) follows the tried and tested structure of previous years. It is divided into three distinct parts, each edited by one of the three co-editors who provide below an introduction to their section. Part One, commissioned and edited by Tony Maltby, provides a review of some of the significant developments in social policy during 2007; Part Two, edited by Patricia Kennett, is a selection of papers from those delivered to the annual international Social Policy Association (SPA) conference held at the University of Birmingham in July 2007; and the final part, edited by Kirstein Rummery,...

  2. Part One: Current developments

    • ONE A year of transition in post-compulsory education and training
      (pp. 11-34)
      Alastair Thomson

      This chapter reviews some of the main developments that occurred during the year in the UK and highlights some of the connections and themes. It is, of course, a selective account. First, it focuses on the written and spoken words of legislators and their officials rather than the voices of learners and their teachers. Second, it focuses on the majority of the UK’s population, who are adults rather than children. Third, it concentrates not on the education and training of elites (whether in the academy or in the workplace) but on the changes that impact most on the lives of...

    • TWO Planning for infrastructure and housing – is sustainable development a dream?
      (pp. 35-50)
      Roberta Blackman-Woods

      This chapter is very much my own reflection on the current state of play with regard to government policy on the built environment in England. I have written it from the perspective of a Labour Member of Parliament (MP), a legislator and a representative of the people of my constituency, but also as someone who until a few years ago was a practising social policy academic. With two major Bills, one on housing and regeneration and the other on town and country planning, being considered in the current session of Parliament (2007/08), it seems an opportune time to think about...

    • THREE Towards a new pension settlement? Recent pension reform in the UK
      (pp. 51-68)
      Debora Price

      In December 2002, the Labour government announced the formation of the Pensions Commission (DWP, 2002). In 2005, the Commission published comprehensive proposals for pension reform in their second report,A New Pension Settlement for the Twenty-First Century(Pensions Commission, 2005). In a remarkable achievement, the proposals gained broad acceptance from government and opposition parties, trades unions, employer organisations, occupational schemes, the insurance industry, special interest groups and the voluntary sector. In November 2006, the reform packages began to crystallise with the introduction of the first Pensions Bill, described by then Secretary of State for Pensions, John Hutton, as ‘a landmark...

    • FOUR Climate change and climate change policy in the UK 2006–07
      (pp. 69-92)
      Carolyn Snell

      In a year when the Nobel Peace Prize was jointly awarded to climate change campaigner Al Gore and to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change appears to be rising up the policy agenda. Climate change is a complex and contested issue, both in terms of the scientific understanding of the problem and the range of policy solutions available. As with many environmental problems, the human activities associated with climate change produce relatively invisible outputs; for example, carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions from a car are not visible and produce no smell. Emissions are also transboundary in nature...

    • FIVE Policy for older people in Wales
      (pp. 93-110)
      Gill Windle and Alison Porter

      Social policy in relation to older people is an area of increasing importance. This chapter looks at an innovative approach to using policy to improve older people’s lives: the Strategy for Older People in Wales. This broad, high-level policy development takes a holistic approach to older people’s lives, and places a great emphasis on engaging older people in the democratic process. The chapter takes a critical look at the implementation of the Strategy, and considers the particular challenges this presents to the process of evaluating policy innovation. It draws some comparisons with the Strategies of the devolved governments of Northern...

  3. Part Two: current debates

    • SIX Flexibility or flexploitation? Problems with work–life balance in a low-income neighbourhood
      (pp. 113-132)
      Hartley Dean

      ‘Work–life balance’ is a contested notion, involving conflicting interpretations of ‘flexibility’ in relation to employment and family commitments. It may be justified on the basis of a social case, a business case or the contemporary public policy compromise. In practice, however, people’s capacity as employees and family members to achieve the kind of flexibility they want rests on their bargaining power. This chapter draws on findings from a small-scale qualitative investigation of work–life balance in a low-income neighbourhood in the UK. It discusses the issue of bargaining power in relation to employer practices, income maintenance and childcare arrangements....

    • SEVEN The role of confidence and identity in civic participation: exploring ethnic group differences
      (pp. 133-150)
      Nahid Ahmad

      This chapter is based on findings from national research commissioned by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE),which aimed to explore differences between ethnic groups in terms of levels of non-political civic participation, and the motivations and barriers to civic participation (Ahmad and Pinnock,2007). The research included 77 participants from various ethnic groups taking part in focus groups across the UK, and 10 semi-structured interviews with representatives of various public institutions (for example, faith institutions, Local Strategic Partnerships, and the Race Equality Council). Ethnic group differences in civic participation will be explored here in terms of differential levels of confidence; some...

    • EIGHT The problem of riches: is philanthropy a solution or part of the problem?
      (pp. 151-172)
      Beth Breeze

      This chapter is a response to the call for a research agenda focusing on the ‘problem of riches’ (Orton and Rowlingson, 2007a). It suggests that the topic of philanthropy fits within this agenda yet is currently under-researched in the social sciences. Original research into the distinctive features of contemporary UK philanthropists is presented, based on secondary analysis of the governing documents, annual reports and other documentary evidence relating to the philanthropic acts of 150 of the most significant major UK donors in 2006. Drawing on the literature, it then discusses ways in which philanthropy can both solve and contribute to...

    • NINE Policy from the pitch? Soccer and young refugee women in a shifting policy climate
      (pp. 173-190)
      Catherine Palmer

      Since the announcement in July 2005 that London had successfully won the bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, its aspirational message of ‘legacy’ has brought a number of concerns for social policy into sharp relief. To be held in some of the country’s most disadvantaged boroughs, much of the 2012 agenda is built around regenerating London’s East End, ameliorating poverty and transforming the lives of children and young people in these areas. The capacity for the 2012 Games to leave a tangible, sustainable legacy for current and future generations remains open to debate, and is beyond the...

    • TEN Social citizenship in post-liberal Britain and post-corporatist Germany: curtailed, fragmented, streamlined, but still on the agenda
      (pp. 191-212)
      Ingo Bode

      Current institutional change in both liberal and ‘conservative’ welfare states is a major challenge to the social sciences. Major strands of academic thought have long argued that modernity chimes with the successive emancipation of the individual. In the Anglo-Saxon world, the ground-breaking work of T.H. Marshall (1965), shedding light on the subsequent proliferation of economic, political and social rights along with modernisation, had popularised the idea ofsocial citizenship, viewed by many as a key reference for public policies in advanced nation states (Dwyer, 2004, pp 51–76). While the concept was awarded less paradigmatic value elsewhere, it pervaded other...

  4. Part Three: Engendering policy and politics

    • ELEVEN Gender and New Labour: after the male breadwinner model?
      (pp. 215-240)
      Gillian Pascall

      New Labour’s accession marked a shift in government assumptions about gender. Under earlier Labour governments, education and health legislation had given crucial citizenship rights to women and men equally (which women seized in order to participate fully as citizens) while the 1970s brought equal opportunities and sex discrimination legislation. These brought women into employment and public life, but the male breadwinner model of the family lingered through aspects of Thatcher and Major government policy until 1997 – women might join the labour market, become Members of Parliament (MPs) and ministers, but they should not expect government support in challenging gender relations...

    • TWELVE A review of engendering policy in the EU
      (pp. 241-262)
      Jill Rubery

      Equal pay for women and men was adopted as a core principle of the European Union (EU) when it was founded in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome, originally as the European Economic Community. The initial motivation for the inclusion of the clause was to protect against unfair competition in trade and the future significance of the inclusion of this principle was not anticipated or understood at the time. It was only in the 1970s that the EU began to develop a social policy programme and adopted gender equality as an explicit EU social objective, backed by new EU directives...

    • THIRTEEN Forming Australian families: gender ideologies and policy settings
      (pp. 263-278)
      JaneMaree Maher

      The relationship between family-friendly policy settings and the ways in which care and employment are managed within families is a complex one. In the Australian context, Gillian Whitehouse (2002), examining parental employment patterns, has argued that gender ideologies may be as important in shaping care/work decisions as the policy framework within which such decisions are made. Australia has experienced strong labour market growth in recent years and there has been dynamic rhetoric around sustainable economic growth and labour market shortages. This labour market need has thrown focus on the importance of women’s paid labour. At the same time, there has...

    • FOURTEEN Working fathers as providers and carers: towards a new conceptualisation of fatherhood
      (pp. 279-296)
      Alison Smith

      Parental roles surely play a prominent part in determining gender inequalities across the life course, such as the gender pay gap, which still stands at 17% in the UK (ONS, 2007). If we want to understand such mechanisms underpinning gender inequality, then we need to look at both paternal and maternal roles. The importance of considering fathers, as distinct from mothers, when thinking about the division between paid and unpaid work is often given less weight in social policy than it deserves. We may, or we may not, envisage a future of equal parenting roles, where work and care are...