Equality and Public Policy

Equality and Public Policy: Exploring the Impact of Devolution in the UK

Paul Chaney
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
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  • Book Info
    Equality and Public Policy
    Book Description:

    The creation of devolved assemblies and parliament for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland empowered government in each country to promote equality of opportunity. This book explores the impact of this constitutional change in the UK in respect to public policy and law. It sets out evidence of divergent legal rights and policy approaches designed to end enduring patterns and processes of inequality and discrimination.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2327-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. Tables
    (pp. x-x)
  5. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. 1 Introduction: Equalities and Public Policy
    (pp. 1-18)

    Equality of opportunity is an often misunderstood and contested concept; deeply political in nature it evokes strong reactions from proponents and opponents alike (temkin, 1993; Freeden, 1994). it is an example of what newman, (2001: 59) terms ‘wicked issues’. these are characterised by: differing interpretations of the social problem to be addressed; the fact that the relationship between different factors is sometimes hard to assess; they span traditional policy frames; and, require collaboration between agencies in both formulating and implementing policy responses. in the face of such challenges, the equality act (2006, Section 3) sets out a vision of an...

  7. 2 Theoretical Perspectives on Promoting Equality
    (pp. 19-34)

    Equality is a complex and contested concept based upon notions of social justice, rights, freedom and democracy. as thompson, (2003: 45) observes, it often involves contestation: ‘promoting equality inevitability involves entering into conflict with the ‘powers that be’, the dominant social arrangements that help to maintain existing power relations’. burchardt (2006) identifies three core components of equality: equality of process, equality of outcome and, equality of opportunity. the first is principally about making sure that people are treated in the same manner. For burchardt, this is ‘the quality of relations between people, the interactions between them, and the interactions between...

  8. 3 Exploring Inequality and Discrimination in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
    (pp. 35-63)

    This chapter is concerned with exploring the evidence base around inequality and discrimination in relation to gender and other social characteristics in Wales. it draws upon official data and research evidence compiled over the past decade to analyse the extent of inequalities between different social groups in relation to devolved policy areas. Subsequently a summary of key gender equality issues is provided, following which attention is focused on social attitudes and the prevalence of discriminatory views in today’s society. the chapter concludes with analysis of data relating to Scotland and northern ireland.

    The 2001 Census recorded that the population of...

  9. 4 Promoting Equality: A Governance Perspective
    (pp. 64-86)

    This chapter looks at the way that Wales is governed in the wake of devolution. Specifically, it explores the new institutional arrangements set out in the National Assembly’s founding statutes that have the potential to promote equality by facilitating inclusive policymaking. Accordingly, initial attention is placed on the concept of new governance and related political theory. Developments are then contextualised by reference to the earlier period of administrative devolution in Wales and New labour’s Modernising Government programme (cabinet office, 1999), which included the creation of devolved legislatures in the UK. The characteristics of ‘inclusive governance’ mechanisms in the national assembly’s...

  10. 5 The Equalities ‘Infrastructure’ in the Devolved State
    (pp. 87-110)

    The following analysis examines the growing equalities ‘infrastructure’ in Wales and compares it to developments in the UK’s other devolved territories. The term is used here to denote public bodies that, wholly or in part, have an official remit to advise on, monitor and enforce equality policies and law across a broad range of public functions. As the following discussion reveals, one consequence of the creation of the National Assembly for Wales has been the development of a Welsh ‘protostate’ to support devolved administration. Constituent institutions include new dedicated Wales-only bodies (e. g. the Welsh Commissioners for Children and Older...

  11. 6 Legislating for Equality in a Quasi-Federal UK
    (pp. 111-146)

    The literature on policy ‘delivery analysis’ distinguishes between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ policy enforcement responses. Policies backed by legal duties are characterised as the former type, for, as Parsons (1999: 513) asserts, ‘policy is all very well, but without an enforcement or compliance capability, the delivery of public policy is unlikely and uncertain’. Thus, law is a key instrument for the promotion of equalities. Whilst the policy discourse around equalities can sometimes be declaratory and lacking in necessary detail, legal instruments can offer more precision and lessen the chances of an implementation gap. this is because state inspectorates are charged with...

  12. 7 Analysing the Devolved Governments’ Public Policy Approaches to the Promotion of Equality
    (pp. 147-211)

    In this chapter attention is focused on developments in equalities policy since the creation of the National Assembly for Wales. Such a focus is appropriate for, as Mooney et al. (2008: 483) observe, ‘through critical social policy analysis we can both evaluate and explain the complex interrelations between devolved governance and the continuing reproduction of inequalities and social divisions throughout the UK’. Thus, the following discussion draws principally upon policy discourse analysis (Deleon, 1998; Edelmann, 1977, 1988). This is part of a postempiricist, interpretative approach that places an emphasis on the language of policy documents in order that ‘ideas thus...

  13. 8 Lobbying and Electoral Competition on Equality Matters in the Devolved Polity
    (pp. 212-259)

    Both the literature on mainstreaming equalities and new governance theory emphasise a participatory, democratic dimension to public policymaking. Lobbying is a key component of this and refers quite simply to ‘the practice of attempting to influence the decisions of government’ (Rosenthal, 2001: 11). This chapter relates to a stark reality: without engagement from organisations and networks outside government there is little hope for securing the ‘new pluralism’ in postdevolution public policymaking alluded to by former First Minister Rhodri Morgan (Morgan, 2002). Accordingly, here we explore the evidence for a developing ‘equalities lobby’. First the discussion delineates the membership of the...

  14. 9 Conclusion: Equalities and Public Policy
    (pp. 260-274)

    Social diversity is a significant feature of contemporary Welsh society. In part, it is driven by factors like longevity, migration and globalisation. The result is a heterogeneous society comprised of multiple social identities such as gender, ethnicity, nationality, faith, nonbelief, disability, age, sexuality and language. Such diversity reinforces the need to secure equality of opportunity for all. its advent has also coincided with the rise of multilevel governance and the increasing role of the EU and ‘regional’ government in the promotion of equalities. it also comes at a time of advancement in equalities theory and an unprecedented expansion in antidiscrimination...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 275-288)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 289-346)
  17. Index
    (pp. 347-372)