The social fund has been a controversial instrument of social policy in the UK since its introduction in 1988. This book brings together new research and debate on the role and effect of the social fund in relieving poverty, and introduces evidence from the wider European field to allow comparison to be made with other countries' experience of providing a 'safety net' for their poorest citizens. This book opens up for wider discussion the question of how to provide help for disadvantaged groups and individuals at times of financial crisis. Addressing practical questions about how such schemes work (or fail to work) effectively, the book also provides the basis for more general consideration of the overall objectives which they are expected to meet. This will contribute to new thinking about the policy goals of the social fund and other emergency payment schemes, and their role in meeting broader aspirations such as cohesion, inclusion and social justice.
’Despite the widespread criticisms voiced over the introduction of the Social Fund in the 1980s and the many changes in social security and anti-poverty policy since then, it has remained a largely unaltered - and perhaps largely forgotten - feature of the support, or lack of it, provided to some of the poorest citizens in this country. This book provides us with an extensive review of the scheme setting it in both a historical and comparative context, and is a timely reminder of the continuing need for an urgent review of this area of support.’ Pete Alcock , Professor of Social Policy and Administration, University of Birmingham UK 'There is diversity both in subject and in focus…For those who wish to understand the context and development of this area of social security policy,…this is an excellent collection…hopefully the publication of the book will re-ignite some further debate.' Cambridge University Press
Contents: The Historical and Political Context: Lump sum and emergency payments: a brief history, Gary Craig; Social assistance in Belgium: public centres for social welfare, Koen Hermans and Anja Declercq; Balancing the books: the social fund in action, Gary Craig; Politics, social justice and the social fund, Roger S. Smith. Meeting Exceptional Needs in Practice: Claimants, applicants, customers or supplicants?, Roger S. Smith; Decision-making processes, Mike Rowe; Safety nets and trampolines: the implementation of exceptional need provision in Britain and the Netherlands, Jacqueline Davidson; Undoing the damage: review processes, Trevor Buck. The Prospects for Reform: Making it better? the impact of reform, Sharon Collard; Achieving policy goals, Beth Lakhani; Discretionary assistance to the poor: the case of France, Anne Daguerre and Corinne Nativel; A better deal: the propects for reform, Trevor Buck and Roger S. Smith; Bibliography; Index.