Public Services and the Welfare State

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    Is government fit for purpose? Not with the current structure of departmental boards.

Is government fit for purpose? Not with the current structure of departmental boards.

Failures in government policy creation and delivery are often blamed on civil servants. However, the real culprit is self-inflicted governance inadequacy, writes Andrew Kakabadse. He draws on his recent report to explain how the value of departmental boards is downrated because of the poor chairmanship of the Secretary of State.

 The Kakabadse report ‘Is Government Fit for Purpose’ surfaced the […]

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    The problem with ‘raising aspiration’ strategies: social mobility requires more than personal ambitions

The problem with ‘raising aspiration’ strategies: social mobility requires more than personal ambitions

The perceived lack of aspiration among young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds is used as a convenient explanation for the stagnating levels of social mobility. As a result, the ‘raising of aspirations’ has become the focus of government strategy over the past 20 years. Konstanze Spohrer explains why this has the effect of portraying educational success and opportunity as […]

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    The labour of care: why we need an alternative political economy of social care

The labour of care: why we need an alternative political economy of social care

Caring is often taken for granted as an activity. But what happens when a social emotion is monetised? Insa Koch explains what the consequences are for those dispensing and those in receipt of care at a time of austerity politics, and in a legal system where female carers have never had the same rights and protections as their male […]

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    Understanding how austerity makes public sector organisations collaborate

Understanding how austerity makes public sector organisations collaborate

Although collaboration between public sector organisations is often understood as a response to cross-cutting policy needs that cannot be met individually, collaboration can also reduce costs, write Muiris MacCarthaigh, Thomas Elston, and Koen Verhoest.

Why do public sector organisations work together? There are some immediate and obvious answers to this question, such as the need to avoid service overlap and […]

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    The crisis in social care is connected to the gendered inadequacy of labour law

The crisis in social care is connected to the gendered inadequacy of labour law

Lydia Hayes writes that social care is a feminist issue. Highlighting some of the appalling conditions that care workers tolerate, she explains how employment law fails to protect women’s employment and to value feminised labour. She concludes that unless social care provision is revolutionised, women will have little choice but to serve as unpaid carers: stuck at home, excluded […]

How benefit sanctions push single parents further from work

Benefit sanctions encourage job-seeking behaviour, successive governments have claimed. Yet in the case of single parents, sanctions actually move parents further from work, write Sumi Rabindrakumar and Laura Dewar. They draw on Gingerbread’s research to show how parents are often penalised despite seeking work, caught out by unrealistic expectations from jobcentres and poor administration.

The government argues that benefit sanctions […]

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    How local political preferences influence public housing reform

How local political preferences influence public housing reform

José M. Alonso and Rhys Andrews explore the extent to which housing stock transfer in local authorities across England has been shaped by local political ideology. They explain that ideology plays an important role in making housing reform happen, but that local people can also be a source of resistance and of alternatives to such reform.

The Grenfell Tower fire […]

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    After Worboys: what next for the parole system in England and Wales?

After Worboys: what next for the parole system in England and Wales?

A fair, transparent, and robust process for the termination of prison sentences is critical to the effective operation of our criminal justice system, writes Thomas Guiney. In light of the Worboys case and the attention drawn to the parole system as a result, he explains what reforms are necessary in order to build a modern parole process that is […]