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The ethics of welfareHuman rights, dependency and responsibility$
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Hartley Dean

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9781861345622

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861345622.001.0001

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Administering rights for dependent subjects

Administering rights for dependent subjects

(p.110) (p.111) Six Administering rights for dependent subjects
The ethics of welfare

Hartley Dean

Ruth Rogers

Policy Press

This chapter focuses on a small sample of benefits administrators, working for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in local offices in a district in England. It should be said that negotiating access to the sample through the DWP had been difficult, not least because the fieldwork was conducted at a time of major reorganisation. In the end, nine benefits administrators were interviewed, of whom two were men and seven were women. One was under forty years of age and eight were aged over forty. Of the nine benefits administrators, seven were working in senior supervisory or managerial roles and two were in advisory roles; eight were white and one was from minority ethnic group; two were graduates, two had subdegree post-16 qualifications, and five had been educated to GSCE/‘O’–Level standard. Members of the sample were responsible for the administration of a range of benefits, such as income support, disability related benefits and retirement pension. In this chapter, the similarities and differences between the discourse of benefits administrators and that of the core sample are discussed and analysed. Secondly, the chapter looks at the certain features of the benefits administrators' discourses, including the way the administrators appeared to look upon claimants as dependent subjects and claimants' rights in terms of administrative responsibilities, and the evident ambiguity of their discourse as ‘messengers’ of the ‘third way’ policy regime.

Keywords:   benefits administrators, DWP, dependent subjects, claimants, messengers, third way policy

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