This article reviews the debate about implementation that has occurred over the past 20 years. It concludes that it has been helpful to focus attention upon ‘downstream’ events in the policy process. But it sees the ‘top down/bottom up debate’ as often unhelpfully confusing prescriptive concerns with analytical ones. In particular it suggests that there has been a dangerous tendency to separate implementation issues from policy-making issues, when what is important is to understand their inter-relationships.
This collection focuses on the relationship between social care, community and citizenship, linking them in a way relevant to both policy and practice. It explores key concepts, policies, issues and relationships and draws on contrasting illustrations from England and Scotland. The authors examine the ethics of care exploring the theoretical and moral complexities for both those receiving and those delivering care. The book also incorporates practice-based chapters on anti-social behaviour, domestic violence, community capacity to care, black and minority ethnic care, volunteering, befriending and home care and provides international comparisons and perspectives with chapters from Sweden, Germany and Japan.
This bold new textbook represents a significant step forward in social policy teaching by combining comparative and global perspectives.
Introducing readers to a wide spread of international challenges and issues, the book shows how insights into policy can be generated using a comparative and multidisciplinary approach. Global in its canvas and analytical in its method, the book:
• explores the economic, social and political contexts of social policy;
• examines in detail its institutions and fields of practice;
• illustrates the field’s main ideas, themes and practices, drawing on a rich international literature and using pertinent and thought-provoking examples.
Authored by two highly respected and experienced academics, this book demonstrates the rewards of studying social policy from an international perspective by avoiding the constraints of a single-nation focus. Clear, authoritative and wide-ranging, it will be essential reading for students of social sciences taking courses covering social policy, social welfare and comparative policy analysis.
What do people, including governments, mean when they expect communities to be involved in care? The answers which are given to that question depend on what communities are understood to be. This chapter therefore examines some of the problems about uses of the concept of community, particularly when it is related to care. What kinds of assumptions are made about what communities are, and how various subgroups and families are (or are not) embedded in them?
Chapter Six provides a significant and critical link from the present to the past and combines the personal and the political in an incisive and informed analysis of various dimensions of policy implementation. It also contains many of the persistent quandaries of social policy that are examined in the subsequent chapters. The key theme is the reconciliation of ‘caring’ and ‘counting’, incorporating the enduring questions of the place of rules and discretion in securing just resource allocation; the view of efficiency as a means or and end; the outcomes of ‘rough justice’; and the disconnection between the direction of policy concerning social security (in its sense as a ‘condition’) and the reality of the labour market.
This chapter is structured in terms of the way the relationships between austerity as a requirement of government and austerity as something imposed upon citizens have been addressed over time. Taking a comparative historical approach the focus here is on the perspectives in United Kingdom politics on the need for austerity. After a brief excursion back into the 19th century, attention is given to three periods in which arguments about austerity were salient in political discourse: The inter-war period in which political concern about unemployment as a management of the economy issue emerged; The post-1945 clash between welfare goals and the post conflict impoverishment of government and society and; The debate about limits to government expenditure associated with the rise of the neo-liberalism in the 1970s.
Early comparative analysis, where it was not simply atheoretical, tended to be concerned to explain levels of state expenditure. It worked with a view of the ‘welfare state’ that either saw welfare as essentially something provided by the state, or with a notion that development entailed the replacement of other sources of welfare by state welfare. But then attention began to be given to variations both in the extent of the welfare provided (particularly the extent to which it contributed to the reduction of inequality) and in the way in which it was provided. Regime theory has become the dominant approach to this issue, it is discussed in the next section and used as a way of orientating this chapter as a whole.
While Esping-Andersen’s regime theory (1990) represents a crucial move away from the unitary developmental approach which saw states as on a general evolutionary path in which, with economic development or democracy there would be an inevitable growth in state welfare, its emphasis on ‘welfare regimes’ still puts the state at the very centre of the analysis. However, it also brings out very clearly issues about the state–economy relationship. This is particularly embodied in Esping-Andersen’s use of the notion of ‘decommodification’ (the extent to which access to benefits and services is detached from determination by the market). His explanation of the extent to which decommodification occurs is then based upon an analysis of politics, with the strength of social democratic parties the crucial variable.
Esping-Andersen’s regime model, involves the postulation of three regime types:
the social democratic regime, the most decommodified type, characteristic of the Nordic countries;
the liberal, the least decommodified, characteristic of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand;
an intermediate type, which tends to be rather confusingly labelled as either conservative or corporatist, characteristic of much of continental Europe (and, particularly controversially, Japan) where social benefits are extensive but very much determined by labour market status.