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This paper aims to discuss current attempts to understand the housing crisis, in particular what are categorized as managerial and reformist approaches, and to examine the prescriptions for solution that such approaches produce. These concerns are illustrated by a description of the institutional allocation of credit for house purchase in a particular town. This description attempts to link the nature of the housing crisis to the structure of the housing market. It is suggested that neither the managerial nor the reformist approach to housing questions is sufficient to explain the nature of the housing market, and that any possible solution to the housing question lies outside the realms of ‘housing’ itself.
The National Council of Social Service is the major voluntary body in the United Kingdom responsible for social welfare. Its paper on the future of social policy in the European Community was submitted to the EEC Commission by its International Committee, after widespread consultation with a large number of national and local voluntary agencies in the UK. The paper outlines the Community's present approach to social policy. The aims of its Social Action Programme are by no means valueless, but it has still tended to regard the human being chiefly as an instrument of economic production. Consequently, while the Community may be relevant to industry and governments, it has little attraction for the public at large. If the Community is to have any real meaning as a community it will need to give much greater priority to social policy, and to achieving social justice throughout the member states. Furthermore it should pursue policies which will strengthen the sense of Community identity and citizenship and should introduce greater democracy within its institutional structure and operations. The paper recommends a number of specific measures within the broad field of social policy which might achieve these goals. These include proposals concerning employment, working conditions, income maintenance and distribution, migrant workers, health and social services, consumer and environment policy, overseas development and institutional democracy.
This article reports on an attempt to discover the attitudes of members of the public towards a range of personal and family problems, all of which could be seen as relevant to the work of social service departments. The data are drawn from two samples: one of current users of a social services department and the other from the general public.
Our outline findings show that although users seem more aware of the potential of social service departments than other members of the community, there is nevertheless substantial confusion and disagreement over appropriate services for different problem situations. It was equally clear that for several quite important problems many people saw voluntary or neighbourhood involvement as more relevant than intervention by a statutory agency. On the basis of these findings we discuss the following suggestions for social service departments. Firstly, education programmes are necessary to improve general knowledge about the personal social services, but structured in such a way as to avoid stimulating demand which cannot be met – we are critical of the Seebohm report's analogy of personal social services with commerce. Secondly, more attention needs to be paid to relationships between social workers and other professionals who may be intermediaries in contacts between the potential client and the agency. Thirdly, social service departments should assess their own priorities with greater sensitivity towards the community viewpoint, since we found not only a significant willingness for people to get involved in social service but a keenness to participate in policy making.
Housing research has yet to achieve an adequate framework to guide research into the effects of social policy. Two concepts are outlined and used in this article to analyse one local housing market; it is hoped that these will prove generally useful. The concepts are ‘housing status group’ (a modification of Rex and Moore's ‘housing classes’ model), and ‘housing pathway’, which refers to the structure of housing careers. In a low-cost study of a large sample of child-bearing families in Aberdeen, the relationship between housing tenure and occupational class, family size, and experience of housing deprivation is explored. Five principles of the local housing market's operation are abstracted by use of the status group approach, and three main housing pathways are identified. Data are presented which show that the chance of encountering bad housing conditions is strongly correlated with tenure, and that in turn, access to types of tenure is strictly rule-restricted. The local housing market appears to be rigidly stratified, with housing status groups re-inforcing other patterned social conditions, and housing pathways which are sharply differentiated. Because of this, the authors argue for a ‘constraint’ model of family housing experience which can be integrated into a general sociological theory of structured social inequality.
This article is intended to extend our previous analysis (Journal of Social Policy, Vol. 2, Part 3, July 1973) of explanations of the development of social policy. Some problems associated with the preparation of historical accounts are examined and we proceed to review the value of international comparisons of welfare developments as a device for avoiding some of these problems. We look at some examples of studies that have utilized international comparisons and the problems involved in attempting such studies. Our conclusion is that the use of the comparative method is valuable, not because it enables us to get any nearer the truth about welfare developments, but rather because the range of plausible explanations that it will generate makes us more aware of the variety of perspectives on welfare activities that can exist and of the multitude of value-systems that are embodied in these perspectives.
This paper tries to untangle the events and arguments leading up to (a) the statutory introduction of Community Resources Boards (CRBs) in Vancouver in 1974 and (b) their effective cancellation very shortly afterwards. The idea of introducing CRBs (that is, multi-purpose, community-based and community-elected social care agencies) was partly inspired by a local reading of the Seebohm report. The programme embarked upon by the New Democratic party's Minister of Human Resources, however, was not merely far more sweeping than anything Seebohm had envisaged; it was launched on a scale and at a speed sufficient to put off many fellow reformers, let alone opposition members of the British Columbia legislative assembly. Once the opposition (Social Credit) party had managed to regain provincial office, in December 1975, the days of the CRBs (the last few of which were just then being elected) were strictly numbered. This was a pity since, despite their very brief period of operation, CRBs had by this time begun to attract an unexpectedly wide range of popular support.
History has judged John Burns's tenure of the Local Government Board between 1905 and 1914 to have been almost totally barren because his officials were able to capitalize on his great personal vanity in order to flatter him into incompetence and reaction. This article attempts a re-assessment of Burns's presidency along four lines. First it seeks to suggest that his achievement, while by no means impressive, was perhaps more substantial, particularly on the administrative side, than is usually argued. Secondly, it points out that he was already well disposed towards the sort of attitude current among LGB officials when he went to the board. It suggests further that there were certain institutional obstacles which hindered Burns, including the existence of several royal commissions examining aspects of Board work, the poor quality of LGB staff, and the absence of a well-developed statistical section. Finally, it is argued that while Burns's personality was the key factor in his presidency, it was not so much his vanity as his absorbtion with trivia, his intellectual limitations, and lack of any constructive ideas that lay behind his relatively unimpressive record.
This paper considers the explicit intentions and possible implications of the new phase of urban renewal policy now being developed in Britain under the Housing Act 1974. The details of the Act are seen in the context of the evolution of this type of social policy since the last war. The aims of this policy are to preserve certain ‘housing functions’ that are considered to be necessary components of the urban housing system, at the same time as relieving ‘housing stress’ and achieving the physical improvement of existing dwellings. A case study of an inner city improvement area in a provincial conurbation is used to suggest that it will be difficult to achieve all these aims at one time due to the inherent limitations of policies based on small areas. These limitations are seen as the consequence of a continuing effort to patch up the obvious shortcomings of existing policies without wishing to face the political and economic problems of a comprehensive housing policy.
This paper takes up three particular themes in the historical development of the present pattern of social service provision in the United Kingdom and argues that existing accounts are somewhat misleading in their treatment of these issues. The three themes are the relationship between collectivism and individualism in social policy legislation and practice, the influence of centre and periphery in British political life and, to a lesser extent, the occupational roles available to women in the social services. These questions are examined through a study of the history of health visiting. It is argued that the fluctuating fortunes of the health visiting service allow us to see more clearly the changing influence of collectivist and individualist philosophies on government policy and the degrees to which definitions of problems and possible solutions have either been imported from the national periphery to the national centre or vice versa. Insufficient attention has been given to the defeat of metropolitan individualist philosophies by the peripherally-based public health movement at the beginning of the twentieth century and to the conditions which have led to their subsequent re-emergence and the waning influence of collectivist approaches.
Technical experts frequently prescribe simple technical ‘solutions’ to complex social problems. In this article, the authors describe an experimental project which was designed to increase the take-up of means-tested benefits. The project incorporated a computer-based information system which provided individuals who supplied details of their financial and other household circumstances with personalized information about their entitlement to a wide range of benefits. Although the project was a technical success, it made little impact on take-up rates. In attempting to explain why this should have been so, the authors point to the complexity of the problems involved and advocate the need to examine and simplify existing administrative procedures at the same time as investigating the potential of computerization, rather than assuming that a technical device can of itself side-step the problems. They also point out that administrative simplification is itself no easy task and is fraught with political and organizational problems.
This paper draws attention to new provisions in the 1972 Local Government Act which enable non-elected persons to determine local authority policies, through their co-option on to sub-committees with delegated powers. It sets out these provisions in the light of previous legislation and discusses why they were introduced. It then points out one area of local authority administration in which they are likely to be implemented, involving new systems for tenant participation in council housing management. A concluding section raises some questions about the implications of these provisions for the legislative process in general, in particular the ability of legislative changes to have unintended consequences.
Recent discussions of a ‘welfare rights’ approach in social work have suggested that the European Convention on Human Rights might provide a useful framework, a list of service objectives against which present provision might be assessed. In the present paper the author argues that the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is to be preferred, because of its inclusion of social and economic rights. However, there are philosophical and political objections to such a wide-ranging list of human rights. The author attempts to answer these objections in order to release the Universal Declaration as a viable framework for a welfare rights approach.
The study deals with the history of an early Israeli labour movement attempt at establishing economic equality. In the early 1920s, under unique conditions, which made the Histadrut (Israeli general union) the largest employer of its members, a ‘family wage’ was established after its workers spontaneously began to practise communal distribution of their basic necessities. Though applied only to a minority of Histadrut members, it was extremely prominent in ideological and educational activities of organized labour, because the minority included the leadership, officers and managerial strata.
From the outset the system was beset by controversy over application, and, more significantly, over what actually constituted equality: an equal standard of living for families or equal pay for equal work. One problem never solved was how to convince skilled workers, especially profesisonals, to accept the same wage as unskilled workers. The system was therefore eroded from the beginning by exceptions made for specific groups. As more and more groups pulled out and regulations became harder to enforce, the family wage became isolated to the point where it was repealed in 1954.