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  • Author or Editor: Paul Chaney x
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Within the context of the devolution statutes introduced by the 1997 UK Parliament, the Welsh Assembly's statutory equality imperative is unique in its non-prescriptive phrasing and all-embracing scope; it requires government to promote equality of opportunity for all people in the exercise of all its functions. Written at the end of the National Assembly for Wales's first term, this article sets out the background to the duty, explores its impact and tests two propositions by equality experts, namely: that constitutional reform has provided an “enabling context within which equalities work can develop” and that “different priorities and agenda can be discerned”.

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This article explores the substantive representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in party manifestos in general elections and regional elections in the United Kingdom, 1945–2011. The findings show that while there is some evidence of progress, there is also significant variation in the attention that parties afford to LGBT issues, and a general failure to fully apply international principles and mainstreaming theory in election programmes. It is argued that an ‘asymmetrical electoral bargain’ applies: parties increasingly court LGBT voters yet often do so in a reductive and limited manner. This suggests that elements of institutionally homophobic practice endure in contemporary electoral politics.

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Institutions, Governance and Existential Challenges

This book explores how the uncertainties of the 21st century present existential challenges to civil society. These include changing modes of governance (through devolution and Brexit), austerity, migration, growing digital divides, issues of (mis)trust and democratic confidence, welfare delivery and the COVID-19 pandemic and the contemporary threat to minority languages and cultures.

Presenting original empirical findings, this book brings together core strands of social theory to provide a new way of understanding existential challenges to the form and function of civil society. It highlights pressing social issues and transferable lessons that will inform policy and practice in today’s age of uncertainty.

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This chapter explores emerging evidence as to whether, in contrast to statist and market-based ‘for profit’ service delivery, civil society is the answer to meeting modern welfare needs. It examines one of the most pressing welfare challenges of the twenty-first century: adult social care (ASC). Underlining this volume’s central theme of the uncertainties of the age, it examines the evidence on ASC delivery in the UK before and during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020–21. It uses a comparative case study approach focusing on policy and practice in the four nations of the UK. The dataset comprises over one hundred interviews with civil society policy actors and other stakeholders, complemented by analysis of parliamentary proceeding, policy documents and the ‘grey’ literature of civil society organisations. The core research questions are: according to the views of key stakeholders, how do the different territorial welfare mixes on ASC in the four nations of the UK compare in their effectiveness? Did the four mixed economy models provide an effective response to ASC delivery in the pandemic? Does the evidence presented in the chapter exacerbate civil inequalities and social stratification? Last, can non-governmental organisations beneficially replace or complement the work of state ASC providers?

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This chapter emphasises how the Welsh Assembly lacks both tax-varying and primary legislative powers. It is argued that this ‘social policy body’ has the ability for policy innovation and divergence. The chapter shows that certain events in Scotland and Wales during the first terms of the devolved administrations support the claim that as the devolution process evolves, it becomes necessary to speak of the national health services of the UK instead of its NHS. ‘West Lothian’ questions and the ‘Barnett formula’ are discussed in the chapter as well.

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The chapters in this edited collection have examined how the uncertainties of the age present diverse challenges to civil society in the twenty-first century. We have drawn on a wide range of studies from WISERD’s Civil Society research programme. The first part of this concluding chapter summarises the different existential challenges with reference to the principal findings of each study and how they link to the idea of civic stratification. The second part outlines the common themes emerging from this volume and the associated prospects and perils for civil society organisations.

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This chapter outlines the contested concept of civil society and how existential threats stemming from prevailing uncertainties reinforce this sense of contestation as new forms of governance and associative practices continue to redefine the civil sphere, subjecting it constantly to change from powerful internal and external forces. These blur boundaries and produce ever more complexity and fragmentation.

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This chapter explores existential challenges facing civil society organisations in the early twenty-first century, a period that has been dubbed ‘the age of uncertainty’. The discussion is grounded in existential humanist studies of social welfare, civic stratification, well-being, culture and democracy. Outlines of each chapter are presented.

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