The social policy cover major areas that concerned with welfare and development of individuals in the society. The national government is responsible to identify the need for policy formulation and development. While the local government customize the programs according to the specific needs of the local individual and procure resources for successful implementation. In respect with the social policy, the following is being carried out to identify major areas of social policy process. It attempts to explain key changes in the education system during 1944 and 1989. It also aims to describe the change in provision of health care since 1945.
1. Three main areas in the social policy process
The central government in UK is acts as the highest governing body. The service structure in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland differs in many aspects. A Secretary representing the State and administrative department of each region is placed in central government. In addition to this, each region have own assembly and executive (Alexiadou, 2002).
The social policy and welfare administration has undergone major reforms since its introduction. The first phase covers the period of 1960 to 1970 which led the restructuring of central government in areas of planning and control of public expenditure by Treasury. The purpose of this reform is to lay emphasis on planning and development of economy and improving managerial efficiency (European Commission, 2001).
The second phase cover the period of 1980 to 1990 that involves restructuring of welfare administration and civil service which was also called as new public management.
The local government in each of the regions has the responsibility for successful implementation of a social policy development at the central government (European Commission, 2002). It was in the beginning of 19 century when role of local government has been expanded to include the delivery of services in areas of health, social assistance and education.
2. Key changes taken place in the education system and education policy between 1944 and 1989
Before 1944, the secondary education system, in Britain represent an ad hoc development. the access to the system was not available on universal basis and this varies in each region. The school were developed by developed by local government, religious foundation and private charity. The spending on education involves substantial output of financial resources (Gillborn and Youdell 2000). In addition the expenses were of irregular nature. Moreover, secondary education was preserved for middle class group.
Major changes after 1944
- A Butler Act was created in 1944 that renew the education system in England and Wales with rapid steps.
- Another Education Act in Northern Ireland was established in 1947 for the similar purpose of renovating the entire education system (Lister, 2000).
- The secondary education was considered a right for the individuals with instant access and widespread acceptance.
- Steps were also taken to provide free education and financial assistance to poor students.
- The objectives of the act also expanded to improve the quality of education provided. The system emphasised on providing education that bets suit the needs and capability of students (Mullins and Murie, 2006).
- This system was also considered as Tripartite System, the official forecasted a technocratic system where skills were considered as deciding factors than the financial resources. The purpose was that it must meet the requirement of the economy and develop technicians, intellectuals and workers (Mullins and Murie, 2006).
Design of the system
The main objective of the system is to provide education to all students regardless of the financial resources and background they belong to. It was then led to the introduction of IQ test to determine the ability of child for the particular tier (Crisis, Citizens Advice, Shelter and CIH, 2009).
The decline of the Tripartite System
The fall of the Tripartite System began with the introduction of a book titled The rise of the Meritocracy by Michael Young. the book published in 1958 mocked the British education system from a future perspective. The author argued that grammar schools were focusing more on meritocracy and developing a underclass to match with it (Seaman and Sweeting, 2004). this result probably result in inequality in the system.
The argument of the author reflect in growing dissatisfaction on the political front. Many politicians argued that middle classes would gain access to grammar schools which will divide the nation into a well developed middle class group whereas the working class will be trapped into Modern Schools only (Trilling and Hood, 2001).
The formal abolition of Tripartite System took place in 1958 by a labour leader Hugh Gaitskell.
Later in 1965, the regions of England and Wales also removed the Tripartite System.
3. Provision Of Health Care In Britain Changed During The 1980s
A major restructuring of health care system in Britain took place under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher. At that time, increasing cost of NHS was major concern for the government. It was also identified that rising cost was due to poor management and organisation of NHS. Thus major reforms took place in 1980 with establishment of decentralised administration of hospital services which are also known as Hospital Trust. In addition to this, policies regarding the competitive bidding and market forces were also involves in the provision of hospital services.
The government developed a tight control system to emphasize on cost efficiency in NHS. the resultant of this measure was seen in reduction of unnecessary units in hospitals which does not provide signifiant value to patients (HM Treasury, 2010).
The resultant impacts were both positive and negative. It created long waiting lists for patient even for urgent needs of treatment. The positive development was seen in the are of private insurance systems. But private insurance aimed for profit earning which increases the cost of treatment. But regardless of the increasing cost of healthcare, the private insurances grew at a faster rate offering complete health care services (Mullins and Murie, 2006). Moreover, employers also allowed complementary benefit to employees through health insurance.
4.1 Types Of Housing Tenure In Britain And Change Since 1945
The owner occupied tenure system indicates that property is held by the owner who is the person living at the property.
In social renting property is lend at low rents on security basis to those who are struggling with high cost of housing. the local council and non profit organisation provide social housing to individual.
Private renting means property is owned by individual, company or enterprise. The private landlords registered with local authorities.
- The difference among the three tenure system were based on the following areas - taxation, economic inequality, benefits, stock condition and energy efficiency, mobility, security of tenure, impact on economy and satisfaction and aspiration (HM Treasury, 2010).
- The major changes in the housing tenure system took place during 1915-19 and then in 1979. The category social housing and owner occupation grew in size during 1915 to 1979 while private renting contracted.
- Since 1979, there is a rise in owner occupation at the cost of social housing.
- The size of private rented sector swelled rapidly (Gillborn and Youdell, 2000).
- The tenure trends are the result of combine driver of political, social work and economic forces that executed in the short and long haul.
- Changes in political system provide support to local authority provision and further in the area of Right to Buy (Gewirtz, 2002).
- There are also recent trends that have result in turning point in UK.
- For the first time ever, there is expansion in private rented sector and contraction in owner occupied sector.
- There is increase in one million household during the period 2005 to 2009 (European Commission, 2002).
4.2 Types Of Housing Tenure In Britain And Change Since 1945
The social policy in UK was restructure and renovated many time since 1945. The impact of war can be seen in economic inequality, lack of education and need for health care. Since then the UK government took major steps to continuously refined three areas of society in order to ensure growth and development.
The education system was refined with the introduction of Tripartite System that changed the secondary education. The purpose was to address the social exclusion of individual on income and caste basis (Gewirtz, 2002). The system was such developed that all individual are entitled to seek the benefits regardless of the financial resources. The skills and abilities would be the major testing criteria.
Other then this changes were also seen in health care sector. The introduction of many new medical treatment and private sector insurance helped expand the are of treatment. There introduction of insurance enabled may patients to available the treatment and medical facilitates which were earlier not affordable and within their range (Alexiadou, 2002).
In addition to this, the other major area of development was housing sector. in order to address the needs of growing population and to lower the cost, the national government took steps to introduce support and measure. The local authorities were provided substantial support from the governing bodies through tax benefits and introduction of Right to Buy (European Commission, 2001). This helped in declining the mortgage, wealth and income constraints in the society and improved the quality of living.
- Alexiadou, N., 2002. Social inclusion and social exclusion in England: Tensions in education policy, Journal of Education Policy.
- European Commission, 2001. The Concrete Future Objectives of Education and Training Systems / Report from Education Council to the European Council, Press Release: Brussels.
- European Commission, 2002. Joint Report on Social Inclusion, DG: Employment and Social.
- Gewirtz, S., 2002. The Managerial School: Post-welfarism and social justice in education. Routledge.
- Gillborn, D. and Youdell, D., 2000. Rationing Education: Policy, Practice, Reform and Equity. Open University Press.