Evaluation is currently regarded as a central tool for learning and improving accountability in relation to public policies and social programmes. It is also understood as a process for boosting human development and social justice. Capability and feminist approaches have both been explored, separately, in evaluation theory, methodology and practice. This article explores the potentials, complementarities and limitations of mixing the two approaches. To this end, we present an evaluation design for the ‘Programme Against Child Poverty’ of Save the Children Andalucia (Spain). Our aim is to contribute to the development of transformative approaches and methodologies within the evaluation discipline.
Focusing on policy feedback, this article examines the influence, four decades after its enactment, of Margaret Thatcher’s 1980 ‘Right to Buy’ (RtB) policy on today’s social housing institutions in the UK. We argue that through interest-group feedback mechanisms, RtB helped expand and reinforce the UK landlord class. Furthermore, we assert that the policy pressures placed on local councils to embody housing within the welfare state contributed to a path-dependent, privatisation feedback mechanism. More generally, an analysis of the UK case is important as it could help us think about housing privatisation in terms of policy feedback and long-term historical legacies.
Helping parents meet the cost of childcare is an important policy objective in the UK and there are various financial subsidies available. For low-income working parents, this support is increasingly provided through Universal Credit, the main means-tested benefit for working-age people in the UK. This article draws on qualitative interviews with parents on Universal Credit and explores issues of awareness, affordability, administration and the consequences of embedding childcare costs into a monthly-based means-tested system. The conclusions reflect on the implications for the Universal Credit goals of supporting employment, of simplification of the system, and of increasing personal responsibility.
This article explores the extent to which mandatory work programmes (MWPs) which oblige social assistance recipients to perform work activities in order to improve or develop basic work skills, can be considered in conformity with the human right to work. Drawing on qualitative research in three municipalities in the Netherlands, the findings indicate that overall, the work in the MWPs infringed the right to work. However, part of the MWP participants were able to realise the right to work to the extent that participation in an MWP enhanced their dignity, self-respect and their opportunities for self-development.
This article reports on the Child Poverty Action Group Early Warning System (EWS), a database of case studies representing social security issues reported directly by frontline benefits advice workers and benefit claimants. It outlines what data from the EWS can tell us about how the social security system is functioning and how it has responded during the pandemic. It further details how insights from the EWS can be used by researchers and policymakers seeking to understand the role of social security in supporting families living on a low income and in advocating for short- and longer-term policy change.
This article examines the specific or sub-sectoral effects of COVID-19 lockdown measures on small business units, thus departing from previous studies which only focused on general effects. Based on qualitative and cross-sectional survey methods, the article depicts a cross-sectoral disparity in the patronage level and income stream of customers of small businesses found on the streets of south-eastern Nigeria. The article identifies the gap in the policy interventions meant to cushion the negative impacts of COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing policies on small businesses. Hence, state policy interventions have not had the cushioning impact on small businesses in south-eastern Nigeria. A pro-poor approach towards the review of the policy interventions is highly imperative.
As the Indian economy is slowly opening up after the COVID-19 lockdown, it seems like a number of states are overriding even the most basic human rights of their workers in the name of labour reforms. These moves have been criticised in a number of national and international spheres, as along with the Constitution of India, they are inconsistent with various international instruments. Under these circumstances, this article provides a comprehensive view of the changes that have been made and why they are inhumane and derogatory towards the worker communities, and suggests possible ways forward to remedy the atrocious situation.
Based on freedom of information responses from English local authorities, the research examines the number of households where a duty to accommodate was accepted that were subsequently housed in other local authority areas. Recognising neoliberal housing policy of increased marketisation and less government intervention, the article identifies market failure, housing unaffordability and welfare reform contributing to households being displaced and social cleansing. Importantly, the research recognises negative housing outcomes beyond the binary of homelessness and the impact on vulnerable households by examining out of area housing, which is currently an under-researched area within housing.
A regressive tax system and welfare cuts under ideological austerity have generated growing poverty and inequality in the UK and US. Failures in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting deep recession have the greatest impact on the poorest and most vulnerable, exacerbating poverty and inequality. In contrast to this depressing history, we show in detail that a better recovery in the UK requires a radical tax reform and a universal basic income, combined with a Green New Deal for full employment and a low-carbon economy, employee self-determination and economic democracy to eliminate exploitation and establish social justice.