Education, Social Justice, and Inter-Agency Working: Joined Up or Fractured Policy

Education, Social Justice, and Inter-Agency Working: Joined Up or Fractured Policy

Education, Social Justice, and Inter-Agency Working: Joined Up or Fractured Policy

Education, Social Justice, and Inter-Agency Working: Joined Up or Fractured Policy

Synopsis

This study explores policy and practice in a range of areas where education and other agencies interact. Its theme should be central to those interested in promoting social justice for adults and children experiencing the effects of exclusion.

Excerpt

The theme of inter-agency working and partnership, sometimes referred to by the shorthand term 'joined-up government', is at the centre of New Labour's vision of the modernised welfare state. the need to make policy connections appears to be regarded as particularly critical in relation to those at the social margins, for whom the liaison of education, social work, health, social security and employment services is regarded as critical. This edited collection explores policy and practice in a range of areas where education and other agencies interact.

In this introductory chapter, we frame some of the questions which are addressed by the papers which follow. the first question which concerns us is why joined-up policy has risen to the top of the political agenda at this point in time. How does it connect with other aspects of New Labour's political agenda, in particular the promotion of the 'Third Way' policies which reflect the dominance of global capitalism while seeking to mitigate some of its excesses and challenge social exclusion? Further questions arise about whose interests are served by the pursuit of joined-up policy, in particular when such policies are focused so tightly on those at the social margins.

A further question which bubbles to the surface throughout the book is the extent to which partnership, inter-agency working or joined-up policy is capable of achieving social change. the government has set itself the goal of moving towards greater social justice, with clear performance indicators and pre-defined milestones and long-term targets. Partnership is seen as a way of achieving greater social inclusion, but questions remain about whether this is actually the case and what evidence is available to support this belief. Furthermore, if partnership is seen as an alternative to forms of welfare based on internal and external markets, then what evidence is there that it leads to 'better' social outcomes, whether these are expressed in terms of social justice or greater effectiveness and efficiency?

The final question concerns the conditions which make for successful partnership working. Does the involvement of a range of professional agencies, parents and the voluntary sector make complicated decisions easier or easy decisions

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