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Scandal, social policy and social welfare

Scandal, social policy and social welfare: (Revised Second Edition)

Ian Butler
Mark Drakeford
Consultant Editor: Jo Campling
Copyright Date: 2005
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  • Book Info
    Scandal, social policy and social welfare
    Book Description:

    Scandals do not just happen. They are made. They are constructed out of such everyday tragedies as the small carelessnesses and institutional brutality of the long stay hospital, the abuse of children or the violent deaths of innocent bystanders. This book, by examining the landmark scandals of the post-war period, including more recent ones, such as the Victoria Climbie Inquiry, reveals how scandals are generated, to what purposes they are used and whose interests they are made to serve. In particular, it examines the role of the public inquiry, an increasingly familiar policy device, in the process whereby the 'story' of a particular scandal is told and its meaning fixed. Using transcripts, press coverage, materials from the Public Record Office and other contemporary sources each of the scandals described in the book is located in its own historical and policy context in order to explore the complex cause and effect relationship between public policy and scandal.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-132-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-vii)
  5. Notes on the authors
    (pp. viii-viii)
  6. ONE Scandal
    (pp. 1-6)

    While scandals are relatively rare, sin is common enough. As this book will demonstrate, neither the chronic administrative failings, small carelessnesses and institutional brutality of the long-stay hospital, nor even the abuse of children or the violent deaths of innocent bystanders, are sufficient cause for scandal. This book is about the process whereby such everyday tragedies are transformed into something extraordinary; the process whereby events that are local and personal become national and public; the process whereby the specific comes to stand for the general and where meanings and historical significance become attached to acts and events that at other...

  7. TWO ‘Gothic nightmare’: Madness and public policy from the 18th century
    (pp. 7-32)

    This chapter aims to provide the essential background against which the scandals that took place in mental health institutions during the 1960s and 1970s can be understood and assessed. As Chapter One suggested, scandals are the product of culturally and historically specific reactions to particular events. Such events are themselves shaped by the social policy context within which services are provided in any era. This chapter will end by identifying the key currents running in the social welfare world that produced the first major institutional scandal of modern times—that at Ely Hospital in Cardiff. In order to understand these...

  8. THREE ‘The corruption of care’: The Ely Hospital Inquiry 1969
    (pp. 33-60)

    The newspaper story that broke withThe Timesletter quoted at the end of Chapter Two contained many of the ingredients from which scandals are constructed. One of the signatories, Barbara Robb, was a claims-maker of the first rank. Founder of AEGIS (Aid for Elderly in Government Institutions), Mrs Robb was the mobilising spirit behind the attention that was now drawn to conditions in some of Britain’s oldest and least-well-resourced institutions. Life within the hospitals in which geriatric medicine was practised continued to reflect their Poor Law heritage. The daily routine relied upon a series of practices that Goffman (1961)...

  9. FOUR ‘Household happiness, gracious children’: Children, welfare and public policy, 1840-1970
    (pp. 61-82)

    According to the Swedish feminist and political radical Ellen Key, the 20th century was to be the ‘century of the child’ (Key, 1900). It is unarguable that in the last 100 years there have been significant improvements in the material realities of children’s lives. This is at least true for children in Sweden and Britain who have substantially benefited from the ‘Golden Age’ of European state welfarism. Key’s vision encompassed more than material advancement, however. There was hope too for political progress. Now, the ‘century of the child’ is over and there is reason to doubt how far the ‘cultural...

  10. FIVE The story of Cinderella: The Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Care and Supervision Provided in Relation to Maria Colwell 1974
    (pp. 83-112)

    TheReport of the Committee of Inquiry into the Care and Supervision Provided in Relation to Maria Colwellwas submitted to Barbara Castle, the Labour Secretary of State for Social Services, in May 1974 (Colwell Report, 1974). It was published on 5 September, at first only on a limited scale and in typescript form due to a strike (a contemporary characteristic) by printers at Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. The Inquiry had been chaired by Thomas Field-Fisher, a judge, assisted by Olive Stevenson, a social work academic and Margaret Davey, a local authority councillor. It is a relatively short report containing...

  11. SIX ‘Mere oblivion’: The fate of the institution and the advent of community care
    (pp. 113-140)

    The Ely Hospital scandal marks a historic moment. It captured public attention in a way that produced a deep and lasting impact. The Inquiry team itself, in the conduct of its business and in the Report that it produced (Report of the Committee of Inquiry, 1969), set the standard for those that were to follow. The impact caused by the publication of the full Report was felt both in the way in which social policy making was conducted and in the development of policy itself. The Report marked the point at which it became established in the public mind that,...

  12. SEVEN ‘Carnage in the community’: The Christopher Clunis Inquiry 1993
    (pp. 141-168)

    This chapter begins by retracing the steps from the start of the 1990s, to nearly a decade earlier. The previous chapter attempted to demonstrate the way in which scandals in the institutional care of those with mental health difficulties were extinguished in the years after Ely, both by the repetitive nature of events uncovered and by the grip that care in the community came to exercise over policy making in this field. The purpose of this chapter is to trace the demise of that policy hegemony, and the part played by scandal in reviving public concern, not now about institutional...

  13. EIGHT ‘An ambience of uneasiness’: The residential care of children, 1834-1990
    (pp. 169-194)

    Sir William Utting, in his ‘special review’ of residential care for children (DH/SSI, 1991), asked himself two very particular questions: “Is there any point in persevering with residential care? [and] Can it be revived?” (p 8). Utting’s review had been commissioned as a direct result of “public concern about standards and practices in residential child care” (p 3) following publication of The Pindown experience and the protection of children: The Report of the Staffordshire Child Care Inquiry (Staffordshire County Council, 1991). We will deal with the Utting Report’s answer to these questions in Chapter Nine when we examine the ‘Pindown’...

  14. NINE ‘A narrow, punitive and harshly restrictive experience’: The Pindown experience and the protection of children: The Report of the Staffordshire Child Care Inquiry 1991
    (pp. 195-220)

    The Report of the Staffordshire Child Care Inquiry was published on 30 May 1991 under the titleThe Pindown experience and the protection of children(Staffordshire County Council, 1991). The term ‘pindown’¹ was used to describe practice in a number of children’s homes in Staffordshire between April 1983 and October 1989. It was said to have its origins in the phrase “we must pin down the problem”, used by Tony Latham, “the architect and leading exponent” (para 1.4) of pindown, “whilst he gestured with his forefinger pointing towards the floor” (Staffordshire County Council, 1991, paras 1.4, 12.18).

    The Report identifies...

  15. TEN Scandal, welfare and public policy
    (pp. 221-242)

    The first edition of this book ended with Chapter Ten. In it, we attempt to reflect on the most important issues that arise out of the dynamic relationship between scandal, Committees of Inquiry and social welfare policy-making. While the present edition contains a further chapter, in which we consider a set of further issues which have arisen in the field since 2003, it is still timely to draw together here the different threads and answer some of the questions with which this book began. Chapter One set out three broad areas of inquiry through which the particular scandals recounted here...

  16. ELEVEN The final chapter?
    (pp. 243-276)

    It was not particularly prescient of us to note in the conclusion of what we once thought of as the final chapter of this book, Chapter Ten, that the history of scandal was far from over. It is with no surprise that we are confronted with the task of incorporating into this revised version of our text a whole new series of tragic events, Public Inquiries and policy responses. At the point where we broke off our account of landmark scandals, we were aware that the Climbié Inquiry (Laming, 2003) had been convened and we will describe shortly a lengthy...

  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 277-296)
  18. Index
    (pp. 297-311)