International expert panel discuss welfare conditionality

Last week, the first event of the research project ‘Welfare Conditionality: Sanctions, Support and Behaviour Change’ took place at the University of York. This five year (2013-2018) programme[1] aims to create an international and interdisciplinary focal point for social science research on welfare conditionality, that is, the linking welfare benefits and services to ‘responsible’ behaviour.


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Reflections on homelessness and welfare reform in Scotland

Last week, I had the great pleasure of speaking at Homeless Action Scotland’s 14th National Conference. Speaking alongside some the architects of Scotland’s now globally renowned homelessness legislation[i] and facing an audience of 130 practitioners was both a privilege and a foreboding task


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Homelessness, Rights and Discretion in Scotland and Ireland

It has long been recognised that due to their substantial discretion, public sector workers play an important role in making welfare policies, not just passively implementing policies designed by governments. Drawing on her recent study which compares Scotland’s rights-based and Ireland’s social partnership approach to homelessness, Beth Watts looks again at enduring debates about the best balance between rules and discretion in the design and delivery of welfare services.


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Has the ‘Big Society’ reached the frontline of statutory homelessness services?

David Cameron’s flagship ‘Big Society’ project has been subject to much debate since its inception a few years ago, both around what it actually is, and the nature of its true agenda. A few commentators believe the Big Society represents a qualitative shift in political ideology; others take the view that it is primarily a […]


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