Voluntary Societies and Social Policy

Voluntary Societies and Social Policy

Voluntary Societies and Social Policy

Voluntary Societies and Social Policy

Excerpt

My main purpose is to throw some light on the changing role of voluntary organisations and their relation with statutory bodies in the provision of the British social services.

The great experiments in social welfare in the mid-20th century have stimulated interest in the social services. Overseas visitors are constantly enquiring 'how things began', while sociologists are aware of the need for more detailed research into origins and development if the problems of to-day are to be fully understood.

This country has built up a unique partnership of voluntary and statutory action but, so far, there has been little investigation into the nature of the relationship. An Official History may acclaim voluntary action as 'characteristic of the British Social services', and social legislation may embody the principle of co-operation between statutory and voluntary agencies, but there is still some uncertainty about the function of voluntary organisations in a community which has achieved a reasonable measure of social security and welfare.

Co-operation and co-ordination have become vital issues in the complex society of to-day. The achievement of satisfactory relations between individuals and groups is one of the outstanding problems of social administration. It is not always easy to understand the varying attitudes of local authorities towards public and private enterprise in the provision of the social services. The rapidity with which changes have occurred in social policy and social structure have made it difficult to see the pattern as a whole. It is clear, however, that the influence of the past is still strong. For this reason special attention is paid, in this study, to origins and development, in the attempt to analyse the causes of friction and the conditions which make for co-operation, and to discover the reasons for persistence and change.

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