Public Services and the Welfare State

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    We need to talk about policy failure – and how to avoid it

We need to talk about policy failure – and how to avoid it

UK policymakers are not currently learning from failed policies, argues Bob Hudson. He explains some of the reasons why failure is so common in the first place and writes that such instances should be treated as opportunities through which to study and strengthen the policy process.

It has always been the case that the likelihood of policy failure is at […]

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    Universal Credit and the perspectives of ex-Jobcentre Plus staff

Universal Credit and the perspectives of ex-Jobcentre Plus staff

Universal Credit has attracted considerable criticism from experts and politicians. Yet could it be that it has also caused civil servants associated with the policy to leave their jobs? Kayleigh Garthwaite, Jo Ingold, and Mark Monaghan present findings from preliminary research with former personnel from Jobcentre Plus.

Throughout 2018, Universal Credit (UC) has been a prominent feature of political discussion, […]

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    Everyday authoritarianism: an anthropology of citizenship and welfare in austerity Britain

Everyday authoritarianism: an anthropology of citizenship and welfare in austerity Britain

Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, Insa Koch explains how British citizens experience democracy and what grassroots understandings of politics and care they bring to their encounters with the state.

Liberal democracy appears in crisis. From law and order policies to austerity measures to the Brexit vote, commentators have rushed to explain the current conjuncture. But while many have argued over […]

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    The future and quality of mental health services: the organising challenge ahead

The future and quality of mental health services: the organising challenge ahead

Despite being in decline, the quality of mental health services is largely absent from public debate. One of the reasons is the silencing of those delivering services, writes Elizabeth Cotton. She draws on data about conditions and wages to explain that there is a clear trend towards precarious work in the sector, and concludes by suggesting how to challenge […]

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    To meaningfully support carers, we must rethink their purpose and contribution

To meaningfully support carers, we must rethink their purpose and contribution

What does supporting carers mean in practice, and how can the government fulfil this mandate? Building on recent research commissioned by NHS England, Melanie Henwood, Mary Larkin, and Alisoun Milne explain that the narrative around carer support needs to be reframed.

Much of the prevailing discourse around ’supporting carers’ is presented in terms of enabling people to keep caring […]

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    Despite the government’s U-turn, Universal Credit still has major problems

Despite the government’s U-turn, Universal Credit still has major problems

While the 2018 Budget proposals mitigate some of the risks of Universal Credit implementation and may help certain groups eligible for work allowances, they overall do little to offset the erosion in household incomes caused by welfare reforms, explains Dan Finn.

Universal Credit (UC) aims to simplify and modernise the income and employment support system for millions of households. The […]

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    Micro-institutions in liberal democracies: what they are and why they matter

Micro-institutions in liberal democracies: what they are and why they matter

Liberal democracies combine core ‘macro-institutions’ (like free elections and control by legislatures) with swarms of supportive ‘micro-institutions’. By contrast, semi-democracies keep only the façade of macro-institutions, subverting a range of critical micro-institutions so as to make political competition and popular control a hollow sham. Drawing on a new book, Patrick Dunleavy explains why these developments mean that political science […]

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    The depths of the cuts: the uneven geography of local government austerity

The depths of the cuts: the uneven geography of local government austerity

Drawing on spatial analysis of local authority budgets, Mia Gray and Anna Barford highlight the uneven impacts of UK austerity. They argue that it has actively reshaped the relationship between central and local government, shrinking the capacity of the local state, increasing inequality between local governments, and exacerbating territorial injustice.

Contemporary austerity in Britain has become both a powerful political […]