Public Services and the Welfare State

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    The East Coast franchise debacle: only the latest problem arising from rail privatisation

The East Coast franchise debacle: only the latest problem arising from rail privatisation

Robert Jupe provides a history of the East Coast Main Line franchise and examines its latest problems. He concludes that the current debacle illustrates how privatisation, far from improving efficiency, has fragmented an integrated industry into many constituent parts, and an alternative approach is now necessary.

The Conservative Government announced on 16 May that the East Coast franchise will be temporarily renationalised, […]

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    A social policy on ageing: to reduce the costs of old age, we must improve the entire life course

A social policy on ageing: to reduce the costs of old age, we must improve the entire life course

Far from being predetermined, the course ageing takes is subject to a variety of influences throughout one’s life. This is something that policymakers have so far failed to appreciate, argues Alan Walker. He makes the case for a new strategy which focuses on the whole life course, with the intention of preventing many of the chronic conditions associated with […]

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    How a tragedy changed the way we think about housing: Ten lessons from Grenfell

How a tragedy changed the way we think about housing: Ten lessons from Grenfell

Social landlords and the government have long neglected their existing housing stock in favour of new homes, leading to a deterioration of safety standards and a lack of accountability. In the case of Grenfell Tower, these conditions led to at least 72 deaths. A year on from the fire, and with problems in multi-storey blocks being uncovered all over […]

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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 […]