We have a long history of publishing in the area of social justice and are committed to progressive social change. Since our inception 25 years ago, we have built a reputation for publishing scholarship that focuses on improving individual lives and that reaches beyond academia to government, professionals and the wider public to inform policy and practice.
Key to our publishing in this area is the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, an internationally unique forum for leading research on the themes of poverty and social justice, the SSSP Agendas for Social Justice series, and the Key Issues in Social Justice series.
Social Justice and Human Rights
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This case study explores the impact of COVID-19 on communities in Nepal and North East India and how the pandemic has increased vulnerabilities to modern slavery and human trafficking. It is an accumulation of our own personal reflections of what we have experienced and observed during the COVID-19 pandemic in our country contexts. Responding to modern slavery and human trafficking during this time has never been so difficult. Despite lockdowns implemented in our respective contexts, we have continued responding to modern slavery and human trafficking, as we recognise the urgency and severity it brings in an emergency.
Nigel Saunders, Director at Pozzoni Architecture, considers whether recent developments to the procurement of environmental design and construction services, driven by a mixture of new government policies, the national response to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, and ambitions to reach net-zero carbon by 2050, go far enough.
He explores emerging techniques for the assessment of ‘value’ during the procurement of contracts, advocating that there are a wide range of assessment criteria that should form the bedrock of subsequent successful relationships.
With fundamental questions remaining around hidden costs and who should carry the losses associated with tendering processes in construction, design and planning, as well as other key industries such as healthcare, he encourages a sustainable model of public–private relationalism that is focused on transparent partnerships with purpose and longevity.
The supply of good quality, low or zero carbon housing is an enormous challenge for the country. The private sector has shown that it doesn’t have the capability or desire to deliver more than around 150,000 houses a year, while the public sector lacks the resources to deliver new homes in the volume required. How then can the government get close to meeting its target of building 300,000 new homes a year?
The answer may lie in nurturing alternative delivery channels such as off-site and modern methods of construction (MMC) manufacturers. However, to do so it is important to work collaboratively with the sector and seek to nurture it rather than wrap it up in impossible key performance indicators and contract conditions. It should be expected that there will be delays and failures, but this should be treated as a positive, allowing the sector to evolve and grow.
This will require an entirely different contractual framework. A relational approach is ideally suited to working collaboratively with partners to help realise the overarching goal of improving housing output and quality while addressing climate change and providing much needed new homes for families across the country.
The United States’ long history of structural racism, permeating all aspects of life including housing, employment and healthcare, placed American minorities at disproportionate danger from COVID-19. The combination of American racism and COVID-19 resulted not only in spikes in hate crimes and discrimination, but also the avoidable deaths of thousands of Americans. This case study reviews structural racism’s mounting death toll and culture wars and clashes in the context of the US political landscape during COVID-19.
While some individuals and non-governmental organisations moved to fill voids left by government inaction on racism and xenophobia, others actively sought to escalate racial tensions. The structural racism and social determinants of health that set the stage for the harm American minority communities endured in the pandemic’s first year and beyond remain deeply ingrained in the American cultural, political and social systems.
South Africa has some of the highest rates of gender-based violence and femicide in the world (WHO, 2018). COVID-19 is seen to be compounding pre-existing vulnerabilities globally and making visible a broader landscape of inequalities which interact in new ways. South Africa’s civil society organisational network forms an important asset in relation to the twin pandemics. A history of collaboration under apartheid and HIV/AIDS provides resources on which to draw, especially in the light of state systems mired in corruption and inefficiency. Civil society offers important resources for COVID-19, such as communicating information, providing food support, and holding the government to account on social issues.
Globally public services have changed cultures and behaviours more akin to commercial sectors and citizens are no longer passive consumers but empowered individuals who expect state (and non-state) agencies to provide more personalised services and choice increasingly through a wider range of providers. Increased performance requirements and rising citizen demands have led many organisations to develop innovative service delivery mechanisms.
The author argues that creating public and social value is an essential part of a comprehensive approach to transforming and continuous improvement of modern governance and effective public services delivery in response to wicked issues. Relational partnering is the key to achieving public and social value, as it facilitates long-term relationships between public, private voluntary, third sector organisations and other stakeholders.
For many place leaders inequalities in deprived communities can only be addressed by developing integrated and targeted commissioning of local authority services in partnership in response to budget cuts and escalation of vulnerable groups with complex needs.
This book focuses on the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic currently dominating the agenda of global, national and local policymakers, from the perspective of the UK. This major public health crisis presents a threat which is impacting adversely on global economic structures, and exacerbating a number of pre-existing wicked issues. These interlinked issues include climate change, racial justice, austerity, housing and homelessness, employment, domestic abuse, human trafficking and modern slavery.
Health and socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been exacerbated by central government-imposed austerity budgeting by local authorities and the health service.
This book, part of the Social Determinants of Health series, extends the ideas developed in the previous volumes by reviewing the impact of COVID-19 on local and national governance from the perspectives of public health, social care and economic development.
Drawing on case studies from across the UK and beyond, it explores the pandemic and other ‘wicked’ issues including climate change, homelessness, unemployment and domestic abuse through the lens of relationalism, and proposes necessary system changes.
This chapter explores the wicked issue of domestic abuse and the complex challenges faced by those providing support to people affected, including victim survivors, children and perpetrators. It has long been known that domestic abuse is an impossible issue to address. Decades of changing political agendas combined with austerity have not only meant that legislation, funding and strategic frameworks have not reflected frontline work and the needs of communities in relation to domestic abuse, but have created barriers to addressing the root cause of domestic abuse, which is so often the root cause of all other types of abuse. This chapter identifies the roles of, and relationships between, sectors and organisations in addressing domestic abuse, and argues that partnership and a coordinated community response from strategic through to local levels are the only true way to address domestic abuse.
Local government, weakened by ten years of funding reductions, was significantly financially challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic; the financial effect is estimated at £10 billion for 2020–2021 (or 20 per cent of net revenue expenditure). The consequences of the pandemic comprise reduced income, increased costs from supporting local recovery, and potentially, systemic financial failure, challenging the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as steward of the local government finance system.
Economic development as a local function has seen major funding reductions and the local growth landscape is complex, with government continuing to announce new funding streams to support business and to ‘level up’.
The overarching question is whether the local government finance system is itself still viable with its weaknesses exposed by the pandemic and how far it is enabling local government merely to survive.