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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Decades of experience with delivering large-scale infrastructure projects through a partnering approach provides valuable lessons to be learned about the antecedents, processes, outcomes and possibilities associated with public–private partnering. However, that rich experience has also provided considerable insight into the challenges of developing and embedding relational contracting in practice. Drawing upon established research on partnering in major infrastructure projects, this chapter elaborates on and explores those challenges and examines how they may unfold in the context of public–private collaboration designed to address wicked social and cultural issues. Emphasis is placed upon understanding the organisational cultural antecedents of partnering and how these may evolve as collaborative relationships are established and develop between organisations that straddle the public–private divide.
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided the stark reality of a world without relationships, experienced by people and communities in lockdown. Relationalism contributes to cultural changes in business practice, procurement and commissioning, and it has the potential to contribute to long-standing and contemporary wicked issues. References to relationalism and climate change give an insight into opportunities to promote the international aims agreed in the Paris agreement by shared values and trust across the developed and developing countries, as demonstrated via the need for equity in access to vaccines between developed and less well developed countries.
It is impossible to understand the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus across the UK involving significant loss of life, and the government’s much criticised response to it, without applying the lens of a sociopolitical perspective.
A substantial body of evidence exists to show that the virus has had a disproportionate impact on poor communities, and on care homes, reflecting widening health inequalities and the effects of deep public spending cuts since 2010.
This chapter explores many of the core cleavages in health policy, reflecting political and ethical tensions over the balance to be struck, and negotiated, across personal and collective responsibility, across public and private interests, and between the rights of the community and personal freedoms.
Adopting a sociopolitical perspective allows us to identify and explore a range of factors which, taken together, help explain where the government’s handling of COVID-19 has been found wanting.
Three particular policy failures, and the political choices leading up to them, are explored. These comprise the persistence of a command and control approach to handling the crisis, the policy of austerity introduced by the Coalition government in 2010, and the heavy reliance on outsourcing activities to the private sector and management consultants. An agenda for reform going forward is presented to conclude this chapter.
This chapter addresses:
• how a full understanding of social value can unlock better
value and meet actual need in public services;
• how creating partnering and collaborative relationships can help to meet the well-being of communities – and why a good governance framework is essential to each of the participants in any such relationship but also to the vehicle for that relationship itself;
• what can be done to move from a binary commissioning contracting framework that yields a decreasing cycle of outcomes to a multistakeholder approach that negotiates an upward rachet of benefits generated through collaboration.
These issues are explored with reference to future changes in the regulation of public procurement in the UK and the evolution of HM Treasury’s Green Book to recognise the importance of government policy changes to enable a complementary change in economic drivers.
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.
COVID-19 has demonstrated that radical changes, both in terms of government action and people’s behaviours, are possible. This chapter argues that while local authorities do not have a statutory duty in relation to climate change, sustainability needs to be at the heart of their COVID-19 response. Firstly the chapter illustrates, using examples of actions from the London Borough of Sutton, how local authorities are already stepping up to the plate to reduce carbon emissions, influence behaviours and mitigate the impact of climate change in our communities. Secondly it makes the case that councils are ready to act but after a decade of austerity and more financial hardship to come, they will need to be better supported by the government. Finally the chapter explains how Sutton, and other local authorities, can use established local partnerships to bring key stakeholders to the table on this agenda.
In this chapter the concepts of social value reviewed by Liddle in Chapter 8 will be developed to include environmental value and, in particular, the wicked issue of climate change. Liddle critically reviews the literature on public and social value, and the historical development of these ideas from the work of Moore, in relation to New Public Management and the quantification of social value in relation to the relative importance that people place on changes experienced in their lives from a wellbeing perspective.
This chapter explores how notions of orientation and navigation might contribute in practice to the governance of contemporary policymaking problems. Further, focusing in particular on the main topics for this book, it seeks to understand the role and potential of relationalism with regard to wicked issues and the social determinants of health. It asks: what mechanisms can be put in place to help policymakers navigate this terrain, develop clearer understandings and more effective responses?
This chapter argues that the nature of wicked problems, including those relating to the social determinants of health, often means that they must be continually ‘navigated’ rather than ‘solved’.
Emerging evidence from the voluntary sector in the UK provides an insight into the devastating impact of COVID-19 on charities’ finances, staff, volunteers and service provision. At the same time, many charities are reporting significant increases in demand for their services, with domestic violence, animal welfare, mental health and wellbeing, and homelessness charities being particularly affected in what has been described as a ‘perfect storm’ for the sector. It is smaller charities that are really feeling the brunt of these pressures. These charities often play a vital local role in addressing health and social care need and the social determinants of health, through local service provision, but also importantly as engines of human and social capital. This chapter examines the evidence around how charities – particularly through volunteering – play a significant role in addressing social determinants. It reviews the emerging evidence of the impact of the pandemic on charities, focused very much on the resulting effect on volunteering and also on the social determinants of health. Finally, it makes the case for significant changes in the way the central and local government uses its commissioning and procurement functions to ensure that the voluntary sector is not totally decimated by the pandemic.
Enhancing the quality of relationships between people and organisations is increasingly favoured as a way to improve the delivery of public services and thus social outcomes. This often means focusing on trust, reputation and transparency. This chapter attempts to describe some of the emerging relational tools that leaders and practitioners working in different sectors have made use of, such as relational contracts, responsible business, network governance and citizen engagement. I go on to examine how widespread these practices might become, with reference to the prevailing political context in England and the wider UK. I argue that relationism is in accord with a growing intellectual movement in support of reversing ever-increasing administrative centralisation, but this is unlikely to happen while England’s political culture continues to incentivise central control.