Tag Archives: welfare state

Latest issue of Policy & Politics now available: 43.1

43-1Policy & Politics, Volume 43, issue 1, is now available in print and online. David Sweeting introduces the issue.

The latest issue of Policy & Politics showcases some of the most creative and innovative work that is going on in the field, covering a variety of topics. As ever, the contributions combine theoretical insight with empirical analysis, and offer a wide geographical spread. The issue also contains our first ‘research provocation’ piece.

The opening article, authored by co-editor Matthew Flinders and Katharine Dommett, draws on Chris Hood’s original piece in the 1980 volume of the journal to critique the coalition government’s policy on the reform of state architecture. They conclude that rather than a simple case of abolition, the approach Continue reading Latest issue of Policy & Politics now available: 43.1

DEBATE: A Beveridge report for the 21st century? The implications of self-directed support for future welfare reform

The Policy & Politics Blog features debates from recent issues . An extract is below, then please click on the link at the end to download the full article. Policy & Politics is the leading journal in the field of public policy with an enviable reputation for publishing peer-reviewed papers of the highest quality .

DEBATE: A Beveridge report for the 21st century? The implications of self-directed support for future welfare reform

Jon Glasby, Simon Duffy, Catherine Needham

In the early 21st century, elements of the English welfare state are in the middle of a ‘transformation’ process based on the concepts of personalisation and self-directed support (HM Government, 2007; Glasby and Littlechild, 2009; Carr, 2010; Needham, 2010). Beginning in adult social care, these approaches seek to recast users of state welfare away from being passive recipients of prepurchased services towards a situation where they are active citizens with a right to control and shape their own support. Central to this agenda has been the concept of direct payments (pioneered by disabled people’s organisations and developing in the United Kingdom from the mid-1980s onwards) and personal budgets (developed from 2003 onwards by a national social innovation network known as In Control)… Read the rest of this article by downloading the pdf (free).

Policy & Politics: The practicalities of participation and deliberation

History may come to define the current UK coalition Government as the government that ushered in the end of the welfare state as we know it. The government that forced through a fundamental reconfiguration of the relationship between the citizen and the state. It may well turn out that the British population like the principle of firm action to address the state’s fiscal problems rather more than they like the practice. That story is yet to play out fully.

A more positive aspect of the current political agenda is the emphasis upon localism and involvement. The government aims to move power out of Whitehall and down to localities, giving local elected representatives and communities more scope to determine their own future. The two parties that comprise the current Con-Dem government may value this policy direction for different reasons. Are we talking about a vision of state withdrawal and survival of the fittest? Or a more positive vision of enhancing social cohesion and commonality of purpose in the more fragmented and networked Big Society? It is difficult to identify a consistent narrative. But the parties’ interests intersect and we are expecting Localism bill to be laid before Parliament next month.

While greater local autonomy and accountability in decision making is laudable, it is not without problems. What are the practicalities of delivering on this agenda? Is it another case of something that many feel is fine in theory but less palatable in practice?

Much has been written about participation and deliberation in policy making. Much has been written about the challenges facing those seeking make it a reality. The news is, generally, not encouraging. This is well-trodden ground.

One aspect of the issue which requires greater exploration is how changing structures of governance interact with mechanisms to enhance participation and local deliberation. In a paper in Policy & Politics Robert Hoppe addresses precisely this question.

The paper aims to provide some theoretical reflections on the links between policy problems, the structure of policy networks and appropriate mechanisms for deliberation. It focuses on the practical ‘perplexities’ and dilemmas in running deliberative projects, highlight problems at each of the input, throughput and output/outcome stages.

Equally importantly in the current context, the author pinpoints power – or the ‘ironies of real power politics’ – as at the heart of the issue. Participation mandated from the centre runs the risk of simply being seen as a supplement to existing processes, without significantly altering the locus of control. While deliberation from the bottom -up runs the risk of colliding with the self-identity of those at the centre who see themselves as having the legitimacy to make the decisions.

The author holds out some hope that governance structures can be nudged in the direction of accommodating the views of a wider range of stakeholder and citizens. But there remains a tension between peaceful, collective “puzzling” over what do to and the ‘competitive and potentially violent mode of political interaction’ that is “powering”. A timely reminder of the complexity of the challenges in realising the potential of deliberation – and a suggestion that some of the more far-reaching aspirations for deliberation may be over-reaching in the face of the unavoidable subtle, and not so subtle, uses of power.

Hoppe, R. (2010) Institutional constraints and practical problems in deliberative and participatory policy making, Policy & Politics.

Alex Marsh, Management Board, Policy & Politics