Civic engagement in this book is understood to include attendance at booked National Health Service appointments; compulsory attendance at school; the take-up of a variety of State benefits in cash and kind, such as Pension Credit and free school meals; and attendance at work. This book is the outcome of a collaborative exercise, in which specialists in a variety of disciplines have come together to better understand the state of civic engagement in the fields of health, education, social security, and employment. Their research is drawn primarily from the British experience, but the phenomena studied are international in scope.
Generally, civic engagement has been improving, but in certain areas there are serious gaps that still need addressing. Administrative arrangements are shown to reduce absence for booked appointments, without necessarily making referred patients more or less likely to attend. A variety of measures are suggested for truancy, and the take-up of social security benefits faces a number of issues. Work absence attributed to sickness is at least partly viewed as a psychosocial problem. Economic analysis shows the importance of incentives, and the potential cost of changing from selective to the universal provision of free school meals. Taken together, the sociological analysis in the book highlights the fragmentation of society and its consequences for civic engagement. This book was originally published as a special issue of Contemporary Social Science.
Foreword David Canter
1. Recent trends in civic disengagement Robin Milne
2. Entitlement and adherence in schools George Head
3. Absence from work Ewan B. Macdonald and Kaveh Asanati
4. Housing benefit: slow on the take-up? Kenneth Gibb
5. School and local authority characteristics associated with take-up of free school meals in Scottish secondary schools, 2014 Stephanie Chambers, Ruth Dundas and Ben Torsney
6. Using administrative innovation to address missed consultant outpatient appointments Robin G. Milne
7. Using economic analysis to increase civic engagement Robin G. Milne and Kenneth Gibb
8. (Dis)appointment: conspicuous absence in contemporary society Harvie Ferguson
Contemporary Issues in Social Science is an interdisciplinary, international series, which provides a forum for disseminating and enhancing theoretical, empirical and/or pragmatic research across the social sciences and related disciplines. Reflecting the objectives of the Academy of Social Sciences, it emphasises the publication of work that engages with issues of major public interest and concern across the world, and highlights the implications of that work for policy and professional practice.