As the leading publisher in Social and Public Policy, we publish in the core social sciences to highlight social issues, advance debate and positively influence policy and practice.
Our list leads the way on conversations around inequality and social injustice featuring authors such as Peter Townsend, Kayleigh Garthwaite, Danny Dorling, Pete Alcock, John Hills and Bob Jessop. Series including the International Library of Policy Analysis and Research in Comparative and Global Social Policy bring international, high-quality scholarship together in order to address globally shared challenges.
Our key journals in this field are the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, an internationally unique forum for leading research on the themes of poverty and social justice, Policy & Politics, ranked 15th of 49 in Public Administration and celebrated its 50th year in 2022, and Evidence & Policy, dedicated to comprehensive and critical assessment of the relationship between researchers and the evidence they produce and the concerns of policy makers and practitioners.
Social and Public Policy
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East Perthshire is an accessible rural area, mostly within commuting distance of Perth, Dundee and the central belt. It includes expensive middle-class housing as well as some of the 20 per cent most deprived communities in Scotland. In-work poverty was rising, with the growth of insecure employment or self-employment making it hard to budget or save. This precarity in labour markets was exacerbated, rather than ameliorated, by increasing precarity in state welfare systems. The complexity and high risks of the benefit system were major factors in financial vulnerability and hardship, and this chapter details these deficiencies and their relation to rurality. Support came instead from numerous voluntary and community organisations. From foodbanks to advice services, from women’s refuges to care providers, these provided a ‘first port of call’ and a crucial signposting role towards other sources of help. They all face challenges of trying to provide services across a large rural area in the context of funding pressures and rising demand and need. Support also came for some from family and friends networks, especially in substituting for the state’s social care, childcare and eldercare services.
Harris lies in the Outer Hebrides and is very sparsely populated, with one small town and others scattered around the island’s perimeter. The population has halved since 1951. Tourism, fishing and crofting remain but most employment today is in the service sector, with good jobs in the public sector health and education. In recent years, the development of the ‘Harris brand’ has generated a dramatic increase in economic activity and employment, beyond the capacity of the available workforce. Housing pressure, especially, has inflated house prices and caused difficulty in retaining or attracting key workers. Residents who did not benefit from this boom face difficulties accessing support and risk social stigma in small communities. While the community and voluntary sectors are strong, reliance on family and friends is often more socially acceptable. Over 70 per cent of the Western Isles is now in community ownership, but despite this and the localisation of local government in 1975, there is still a sense of distance from centres of power in Edinburgh, London and multinational boardrooms around the globe.
This chapter introduces the scope and purpose of the book, which presents original research and analysis to fill a gap in our understanding of how poverty and social exclusion affect rural lives following the financial crisis, austerity, Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. This chapter sketches the context for this study in terms of national policies, including fiscal tightening, labour market flexibilisation, welfare reform and other ‘roll-back’ and ‘roll-out’ forms of neoliberalisation and the lack of any coherent strategy to ensure the wellbeing of rural citizens. Finally, the chapter explains the methods used in this study.
The Northumberland study area is another remote, sparsely populated rural area, but on the mainland and in England. Key industries include hill farming and forestry, with tourism growing in the last decade. Rural poverty is quite widespread in the area, with interviewees telling similar stories to those in Perthshire and Harris about their experiences with the welfare system. As in Perthshire, there is also a disparity in wealth, with agencies not always having a clear picture about the existence and needs of rural residents experiencing poverty. Something of a narrative of ‘loss’ exists, following the closures of railway lines in the 1950s, the loss of homes to Kielder Water reservoir in the 1970s–80s and the closure of Bellingham’s mart. Despite these challenges, people in the area have a ‘do it for themselves’ attitude if they want something to happen. There are many examples of enterprising work of voluntary and community organisations, leading to the development of an informal network of community volunteers who themselves bring another layer of connectedness to the support available to rural people experiencing financial hardship. This highlights the potential for organisations to link up with these individuals to help address the challenges of ‘reaching’ into rural areas.
This chapter reviews previous studies of rural poverty and social exclusion in Britain, Europe and North America as an essential underpinning for this research. The review starts by defining some of the key terms from this literature and then it moves on to review existing evidence on the extent of poverty and financial hardship in rural Britain and how these challenges have affected different demographic groups. It then reviews some of the specific factors contributing to rural poverty and discusses the reasons why poverty and hardship often remain ‘under the radar’ in rural areas. The review concludes by setting out the analytical framework for the approach taken in the research, which focuses on the interconnections between individuals’ experiences of hardship/wellbeing and the structural and external processes bringing changes.
This chapter examines in greater depth the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns on individuals experiencing financial hardship and vulnerability in rural areas, and the responses to those impacts. The impacts reinforce the importance of diversifying rural economies that rely heavily on tourism and hospitality, and of promoting ‘good work’ which offers a reasonable, secure income. The pandemic has also amplified the impacts of digital exclusion in rural areas and highlighted how voluntary and community organisations have been crucial in ensuring that hard-to-reach groups have access to financial and other support. However, many of these organisations face a challenging future with respect to their financial resources, particularly if council budgets are squeezed further, and in respect of their ability to generate income. This chapter concludes with lessons and opportunities for supporting rural individuals experiencing financial hardship now and post-pandemic.
Poverty is perceived as an urban problem, yet many in rural Britain also experience hardship. This book explores how and why people in rural areas experience and negotiate poverty and social exclusion. It examines the role of societal processes, individual circumstances, sources of support (markets; state; voluntary organisations; family and friends) and the role of place.
It concludes that the UK’s welfare system is poorly adapted to rural areas, with the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit and cutbacks exacerbating pressures. Voluntary organisations increasingly fill gaps in support left by the state. Invaluable to those in policy and practice, the book recommends a combination of person-based and place-based approaches to tackle rural poverty.
Over the past decade, there has been growing interest in the theory and practice of design in the public sector. Service design aims to improve the experience of public services through a human-centred, iterative and collaborative process of creativity and problem solving. However, there is a lack of empirical research on the application of design approaches in public service settings. This article aims to fill that gap, drawing on service research and empirical illustrations to explore what is being designed, how service design is practised, and the implications of service design. By applying ‘design of services’ and ‘designing for service’ perspectives, the focus of design is discussed, along with its implications for design practice and impact. While the analysis suggests an important shift in the practice of design with a focus on services, it proposes that applying design for service may further the potential of design and support deeper transformation. In this way, the article makes a significant contribution to scholarship on policy design, as well as public service delivery.
Articulating the research priorities of government is one mechanism for promoting the production of relevant research to inform policy. This study focuses on the Areas of Research Interest (ARIs) produced and published by government departments in the UK. Through a qualitative study consisting of interviews with 25 researchers, civil servants, intermediaries and research funders, the authors explored the role of ARIs. Using the concept of boundary objects, the paper considers the ways in which ARIs are used and how they are supported by boundary practices and boundary workers, including through engagement opportunities. The paper addresses the following questions: What boundaries do ARIs cross, intended and otherwise? What characteristics of ARIs enable or hinder this boundary-crossing? and What resources, skills, work or conditions are required for this boundary-crossing to work well? We see the ARIs being used as a boundary object across multiple boundaries, with implications for the ways in which the ARIs are crafted and shared. In the application of ARIs in the UK policy context, we see a constant interplay between boundary objects, practices and people all operating within the confines of existing systems and processes. For example, understanding what was meant by a particular ARI sometimes involved ‘decoding’ work as part of the academic-policy engagement process. While ARIs have an important role to play they are no magic bullet. Nor do they tell the whole story of governmental research interests. Optimizing the use of research in policy making requires the galvanisation of a range of mechanisms, including ARIs.
The industrialisation and modernisation in South Korea that followed the Second World War resulted in rapid progress in economic development, public administration, social service provision and the establishment of modern public policy.
Bringing together outstanding researchers, this book is the first to examine the theory and practice of policy analysis in South Korea (henceforth ‘Korea’). Public policy analysis or the study of government actions with the aim to improve programme and policy outcomes has always occupied a principal place in Korea. This book shares Korea’s experience in public policy analysis, exploring the historical development of policy analysis, and procedures for decision making at different levels of government. T.J. Lah and Thomas R. Klassen have compiled 18 up-to-date chapters that are a major contribution to research and pedagogy as well as valuable reading for specialists, whether they are students, scholars or practitioners. Drawing on case studies, contributors consider the issues and players that affect executive and legislative branch policy analysis, as well as policy design and analysis in the public arena and the shifting role of policy and research institutes, think tanks and post-secondary institutions.