The Social Services of Modern England

The Social Services of Modern England

The Social Services of Modern England

The Social Services of Modern England

Excerpt

During the closing years of the Second World War and the period of reconstruction which followed, our social services --embracing social insurance and assistance, health, housing, education, the care of old people and of deprived children--which had been expanding and developing during the previous half-century, were examined, evaluated and reconstituted. Their scope was widened to include the whole population, and the benefits provided were made more far-reaching and comprehensive. To-day their cost forms an important item in the national budget, thousands of officials and social workers are employed in administering them, and the conception of the 'Welfare State', of which they are the concrete embodiment, is a challenge to our social and political thinking. Yet surprisingly little has been written about them. As it is less than four years since the 'appointed day' (5th July 1948) on which much of our present social legislation became operative, and as since then economic and technical difficulties have resulted in delays and shortcomings, it is still rather soon for a major analysis and evaluation of the social services to be undertaken. At the same time, judging by my teaching experience, both within a university department of social science and with extra-mural students, there appears to be a real need for a book which gives a general description of the principal social services, outlines their development and considers their present functions in relation to the needs of the individuals and groups for whose benefit they were brought into being. This is the kind of book I have tried to write. It is based in the main on published material, and is intended to serve as an introduction to, and not as a substitute for, the study of Government publications and other original and specialist writings.

The scope of the book is wide, and I fully realise that each of its twenty-two chapters could have been written by a person more knowledgeable about that particular service or branch of social work that I am myself. Consequently, I am particularly grateful to my colleagues in the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester who specialise in the subjects dealt with here, and to my friends whose task it is to administer the social services I have described, for their constructive and helpful criticisms. The suggestions made . . .

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