With new devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, this book makes a comprehensive assessment of the impact of devolution on social policy. It provides a study of developments in the major areas of social policy and a full comparison between Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. To what extent is it valid to speak of agendas for government driven by social policy? With new governments in each country, has a fresh dynamic been given to the emergence of distinct social policies?
"The impact of devolution on social policy" uses a framework of analysis based on the nature and scope of social policies, ranging from major innovations and policy distinctiveness, to differences in implementation, policy convergence and areas of overlap with UK policies. This framework facilitates an integrated analysis and comparison of social policy developments and outcomes between the four UK nations. An assessment is also made of the ideas and values which have driven the direction of social policy under devolution.
With devolution becoming increasingly important in the study of social policy, the book will be of key interest to academics and students in social policy, public policy and politics, and will also be a valuable resource for practitioners involved in policy making.
This chapter begins with a comparison of the scope of developed powers over social policy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It then explores the role and importance of social policy in each country in addition to comments on the administrative and financial resources and capacity of each country to formulate and deliver social policies.
This chapter defines policy divergence as a category of policies and strategies where significant differences can be identified between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England as a consequence of decisions by devolved administrations. It notes that these policies lack major innovations or totally distinct policies, but diverge in significant ways. Health structures and governance is one main example that fall in this category. Other examples of these divergent policies are education and social care. It explains that health and education are the two areas of highest expenditure in all three devolved administrations.
This chapter begins by discussing four different policy characteristics of the term ‘flagship’. The first of these four policy characteristics is innovative, as policies that had not previously existed in the UK. Second is distinctive as universal provision or in not having been universally provided in recent times in the UK. The third characteristic is its uniqueness to Scotland or Wales or Northern Ireland. The fourth is self-identified as flagship policies by the devolved governments. This chapter also considers examples of social policies in each of the four categories, describes their characteristics, and then outlines their formulation and operation. It argues that the identification of flagship social policy is not a precise exercise and some policies for which the status has been claimed may fall rather short and more in a category of significant divergence.
This chapter conducts a comprehensive analysis of the effect of devolution on social policy, based on the experience of all three countries — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It notes that social policy has a vital role in the powers devolved to these countries and social welfare services have been a major component of policies emerging from devolved administrations. It discusses that significant changes have since taken place in the overall context of devolution such as the coming into office of new governments. Academic analysis of social policy and devolution, and to a large extent political and media analysis, have tended to focus on the differential impact of devolution on major social policies and welfare provision. It provides cautious comparisons relevant to provision using data distinguishing Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.
This chapter assesses the impact of devolution on social policy through a number of dimensions. It addresses some wider consequences of devolution and social policy — the UK citizenship debate, devolved models of social policy and finally the future development of devolution and the future of devolved social policy. This chapter also discusses a number of factors constraining the evaluation of the impact of devolution on social policy.
This chapter discusses a substantial policy area where the basic principles of policies have largely remained the same throughout the UK. This includes the voluntary sector, housing, aspects of health and children’s services. Also in this category are components of policy areas and examples discussed are direct payments, anti-poverty, child poverty and social inclusion strategies, early years and child care strategies, children’s services, overall health strategies, the regulation of social care and housing policies and strategies. This incremental change and low-level differences in the basic principles of policies in the UK indicates that there may be less difference than some of the rhetoric labels surrounding policy and strategic initiatives indicate. This chapter argues that the main reasons for incremental differences depend on the degrees of innovative thinking, variation in needs, different priorities and administrative structures.
This chapter examines some of the available evidence for comparing social need and the outcome of provision and expenditure since devolution. Five different types of comparative evidence are explored in this chapter: socio-economic and health indicators; input of public expenditure per head on services; data on aspects of provision; assessments by the devolved administrations; and national audit office evaluations of performance.
This chapter evaluates in detail the significant area of interfaces and overlaps in policy and provision which have developed with the interaction of both devolved and non-devolved powers between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the UK government. These overlapping dimensions can be categorised as interfaces and overlaps which require a need for coordination and cooperation; overlaps which produce entanglements; conflict over powers; cross-border activities; and structure for cooperation.
This chapter examines the scope and significance of continuing convergence in social policy throughout the four countries of the UK and emphasises the main factors promoting convergence. It explains that the two main reasons for the convergence of social policies are first, because the policy area falls within policies reserved to the UK government, leading to parity in legislation, policy and provision. The second reason is through a decision by all four governments to adopt or endorse the same policies. It notes that under the convergence heading, the most important social policy area is social security, which rather dominates the issue.