U.K. Government: Social Policy Theory & Practice

The objective of this study is to answer all four questions stated as follows: (1) What is the social administrative tradition? (2) What is meant by liberal welfarism? (3) Explain the parliamentary policy- making process? In addition (4) Detail the New Right critique of the welfare state?

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Social Administrative Tradition

Grover Starling, administration scholar is reported to have described six characteristics of government’s public administrative responsibility: (1) responsiveness; (2) flexibility; (3) competence; (4) due process; (5) accountability; and (6) honestly. (Shiguang, nd) Traditional government responsibility is noted to be that of maintaining public order. (Shiguang, nd) The World Bank identifies four primary administrative traditions as being those of: (1) Anglo Saxon (minimal state); (2) Continental European: Germanic (organicist); (3) Continental European: French (Napoleonic); and (4) Scandanavian: (mixture of Anglo-Saxon and Germanic). The most fundamental difference is reported to be “between the Anglo-Saxon and the Continental European traditions.” (The World Bank, 2011) IN the “the state does not exist as a legal entity but rather one speaks of ‘government’ or ‘government departments’.” (The World Bank, 2011) In the Continental European traditions, the state is “an overarching entity capable of entering into legal contracts with other moral persons (including regions, communes, universities, etc.).” (The World Bank, 2011) The Anglo-Saxon tradition is reported as being evident “in the United Kingdom, the United States, and .” (The World Bank, 2011) It is reported that the “role and position of the civil service are also more subordinate within the Anglo-Saxon tradition than in the Germanic. This does not mean that the civil service is unimportant in government policy making. But the civil service in the Anglo-Saxon tradition is not assigned to a constitutional role, and tends to be subject to structural changes produced by the government of the day.” (The World Bank, 2011) It is reported by the World Bank that the “separation of politics and administration is prominent in a good deal of thinking about governance in the Anglo-American tradition. And issues of politicization or possible bureaucratic dominance of public policy have been most salient in the Anglo-American democracies.” (The World Bank, 2011) The key features of the Anglo-Saxon administrative tradition is that in the Anglo-Saxon tradition there is no legal basis for the state and state-society relations are pluralistic and the form of political organization is limited and federalist with the basis of policy style being incrementalist. The form of decentralization in the UK is that of political with the dominant approach to discipline of public administration being political science and sociology in the UK. in : (1) privatization and deregulation in which functions are removed from the public sector or public regulations are eliminated; (2) personnel management which has been “dominated by new public management principles; (3) financial management including reforms directed toward minimizing government costs and increasing government efficiency; (4) customer orientation; (5) empowerment; and (6) deconcentration and decentralization. (The World Bank, 2011)

II. Liberal Welfarism

The liberal welfare state is one that is representative of individualism, laissez-faire, residualism and a punitive view of poverty.” (S-cool, 2012) The social democratic approach is that which is reported to have dominated both political and public opinion “for the thirty years after 1945. It is based on the economic theory of J. Keynes and the social thought of W. Beveredge.” (S-cool, 2012) Keynes held that the government “could and should intervene in the economy, and that it could manage demand for goods and employment levels by its own taxation and spending policies.” (S-cool, 2012) Beveredge held that “it was the duty of individuals to combine as a society with the strong supporting the weak. The liberal consensus involved an acceptance of the mixed economy and the welfare state.” (S-cool, 2012) This view is that the free market produces various undesirable features including: (1) The free market has as its basis “accumulation not social purpose and inevitably leads to avoidable ills and misery for some individuals; (2) market forces are “undemocratic being controlled by a few very powerful individuals; (3) the free market provides rewards that are unjust and moral principle does not govern penalties and rewards; (4) the market is not self-regulating and unless the market is regulated the result is economic crisis, unemployment, inflation and over production”; and (5) because of the first four stated issues “poverty and inequality increase in a free market economy. (S-cool, 2012) From the view of the social democrat, the welfare state “is an obvious response to the drawbacks of the free market.” (S-cool, 2012)


In the UK, “there is an extensive gestation and drafting process before a bill is laid before Parliament. Government has to decide that a measure is necessary. Increasingly, Ministers will consult on proposed measures.” (House of the Lords, ) At the time a bill is agreed upon for introduction “the Office of Parliamentary Counsel then draft it on the basis of detailed ‘instructions’ drawn up by relevant sponsoring Government department. Drafting is a specialized art and it takes seven years to become fully proficient in drafting a bill of moderate size.” ( ) The number of parliamentary counsel increased from 36 in 1997 to 56 at present and it is reported that it was expected that there would be 62. Ten are needed for assisting the Inland Revenue and the Law Commission while two or three “normally work on a bill, though the Finance Bill can absorb the time of a large number. ( ) The increase in the number of individuals acting as parliamentary counsel has resulted in the Office being able to stay abreast of the demands of volume of legislation growth. (, paraphrased) Parliamentary Counsel Office work has “traditionally been devoted to preparing bills for introduction to Parliament. However, this counsel have also in recent years been involved in drawing up draft bills; that is, bill that are intended to be available for comment prior to their formal introduction to Parliament.” ( ) In the period between 1992 to 1997, the government published a total of 18 bills in draft. They were not subject to systematic parliamentary scrutiny but rather published for the purpose of external consultation.” ( ) It is reported that the committee reports “have not only affected the content of the bills brought before Parliament but have also been drawn upon by members in the debates on the bills. This was notably the case with the Communications Bill. The work of the committees is thus not something conducted in isolation of either House, but contributes to Members’ understanding of the issues surrounding the bills. This enhances the quality of the scrutiny during the legislative process itself.” ( ) While some members are reported to welcome “the pre-legislative scrutiny that has been undertaken” others are reported to not be as positive. It is stated that Lord Carter informed the House of Lords reported that ‘there are ‘some