Speeding up or reaching out? : efficiency and unmet need as policy priorities in Wales

SAYERS, Dave, HARDING, Jamie, BARCHAS-LICHTENSTEIN, Jena, COFFEY, Michael and ROCK, Frances (2017). Speeding up or reaching out? : efficiency and unmet need as policy priorities in Wales. Journal of Language & Politics, 16 (4). (In Press)

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Abstract

The Welsh Assembly, a devolved legislature in the UK, and its executive the Welsh Government, have a distinctly intensive commitment to equality – emphasising universality with weighty obligations on public services. This article uses the ‘discourse-historical approach’ (DHA) to critically review an eleven-year social service reform strategy (produced in 2007), and to weigh up the priorities of fiscal efficiency and universal equality. We refer to these competing priorities as ‘speeding up’ and ‘reaching out’, respectively. Our findings show an imbalance towards the former, largely sidelining the possible value of services to those currently under-served. The article discusses this mismatch in respect of the dominant policymaking framework of ‘New Public Management’ and its emphases on productivity, efficiency, and quantifiable accountability. We also show the value of DHA in analysing ‘fights for dominance’ – in this case between competing discourses within a flagship policy document. Keywords: Discourse-historical approach, social exclusion, social policy, social services, Wales, Welsh Government

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Acknowledgements: We presented early versions of these ideas to the ‘Contested Continuities: health and welfare in the Big Society’ conference at Cardiff University, 20 Jan 2011, and to a meeting of a Research Interest Group at Swansea University, 21 Jan 2011. Subsequent development of the article benefited from discussion with various colleagues, including valuable comments on a draft from Victoria Koller (Lancaster) and Peter Jones (Sheffield Hallam). We all acknowledge the support of our respective universities during this process: Swansea University (Coffey), Cardiff University (Rock), UCLA (Barchas-Lichtenstein), Northumbria University (Harding), and Swansea University, Åbo Akademi University, the University of Turku, Sheffield Hallam University, and Cardiff University (Sayers – affiliations in chronological order). Our partners, spouses, friends, and pets have provided the usual moral support, for which there can be no adequate thanks.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Humanities Research Centre
Depositing User: Dave Sayers
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2016 10:10
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2016 19:21
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12376

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