Social Exclusion in Scotland
and the UK:
Devolution and the Welfare State
Dr Helen Fawcett
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Focusing on the policy field of social exclusion/inclusion, this project looks at how welfare arrangements in the UK are developing post-devolution. It explores how far different understandings of social exclusion/inclusion in the UK central government and in Scotland are producing divergence between the welfare state arrangements in Scotland and those elsewhere in the UK.
The development of strategies to combat social exclusion and promote social inclusion has become a central policy priority in the UK in recent years. The ability to take distinctive action on social welfare was also one of the main justifications for establishing the Scottish Parliament. However, though devolution in this field was extensive, covering health, personal social services, education, training, local government and housing, authority over social security policy remains one of Westminster's reserved powers. The Scottish Parliament therefore has no direct control over anti-poverty measures for those unable to participate in the labour market. It is also unclear whether UK-level and Scottish understandings of the concept of social 'exclusion' and of how to bring about social 'inclusion' are the same. The capacity of the Scottish Parliament to deliver a distinctive policy on social exclusion/inclusion is therefore subject to considerable constraints.
The project explores how Scottish anti-exclusion strategies have unfolded in a situation in which policy competence is shared between Westminster and Holyrood.
• Examine any variations in the understanding of social exclusion and inclusion between the UK and Scottish jurisdictions.
• Examine the interaction between the Scottish and the Westminster authorities, and the mechanisms for policy coordination which are being developed.
• Assess whether the division of competences in the field of social welfare policy allows for a coherent response to social exclusion.
• Evaluate whether welfare state arrangements in Scotland are diverging from those in England and elsewhere in the UK
The research began in January 2001 with a detailed analysis of policy documents relating to social exclusion/inclusion which have been produced by the UK government and the Scottish Executive. The second phase of the research involves an extensive series of in-depth semi-structured interviews with those involved in UK-level and Scottish social policy networks. In Scotland these will include ministers, civil servants, members of the Social Inclusion Network and Action Teams, and representatives of the 47 Social Inclusion Partnerships. Workshops will be held to build a dialogue between academic researchers and social policy practitioners, and to bring in experience of policy coordination in decentralised systems elsewhere.
Keating: Devolution and Public Policy: Divergence or Convergence?
Wincott: Devolution and the Comparative Territorial Analysis of the Welfare State
Dr Helen Fawcett
Department of Government
16 Richmond Street
Tel: 01451 548 4307
|Duration of Project:
||1 November 2000 - 31 December 2001
|Amount of Award:
|ERSC Project Number:
L219 25 2010