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The Politics of Children's Services ReformRe-examining Two Decades of Policy Change$
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Carl Purcell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781447348764

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447348764.001.0001

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What drives children’s services reform?

What drives children’s services reform?

(p.5) 1 What drives children’s services reform?
The Politics of Children's Services Reform

Carl Purcell

Policy Press

This chapter identifies two overarching narratives on children’s services reform in previous research and makes the case for more in-depth research drawing on public policy theory and data collected through elite interviews. Firstly, policy reforms are often seen to follow high profile child abuse inquiries and associated media generated scandals. Secondly, the collapse of the post-war social-democratic consensus, and the subsequent dominance of neo-liberal economic and social policies, has also been highlighted as a key driver of reform. It is argued that neither of these perspectives takes full account of party-political differences and ideological tensions in English child welfare policy, or the role of individual policy actors or organisations in driving reform. Drawing on competing theories of the British policy-making process it is argued the roles played by politicians, civil servants and Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) need to be considered. Details of the research process including those interviewed is provided.

Keywords:   Children’s services, Public policy, Elite interviews, Child abuse inquires, Neo-liberalism, Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs)

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