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People-centred public health$
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Jane South, Judy White, and Mark Gamsu

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781447305316

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447305316.001.0001

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The policy context

The policy context

(p.15) Two The policy context
People-centred public health

Jane South

Judy White

Mark Gamsu

Policy Press

This chapter provides a critical overview of the policy context for volunteering and citizen involvement, with a focus on health policy in England. It discusses why community engagement became a core theme in public policy and rehearses arguments for active citizenship as a component of democratic renewal. The concept of the ‘Big Society’, a central idea within Coalition policy, is critiqued in the context of major organisational change and retrenchment of public services. Recent developments in public health policy are explored, including the opportunities presented by the transfer of public health to local government. While volunteering more often occurs independently of state activity, the central argument of this chapter is that citizen involvement is undermined by a failure to translate policy rhetoric into mainstream reforms.

Keywords:   policy, health policy, community engagement, volunteering, citizenship, Big Society, local government

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