Policy based evidence...

This is one thing (amongst many) that annoyed me this week. David Cameron talking about how the Tories will make sure there is a fairer deal for charities - see the full story by clicking the link below. I hate the phrase, but that is his 'take home message' . Another reading of this policy might be that it amounts to a further dissolution of the welfare state with more and more 'statutory' services provided by non-statutory bodies. Someone has obviously 'done the math' and worked out that whilst appearing generous to third sector organisations, it will also save the treasury money in the long term. To do all of this whilst purloining notions of post-bureaucracy and network bureaucracy is quite frankly ridiculous. In order to hive off statutory provision, the state must ensure a rigorous regime of regulation and monitoring - the rise of regulatory regimes is what we can see in the current government's NHS policies. For Cameron to talk about pushing more of this statutory provision out into the 3rd sector whilst at the same time clothing it in an ill-informed misrepresentation of post-bureaucracy is an oxymoron. Post-bureaucracy does not mean no bureaucracy, and quote 'non state collective provision' end quote will require a high degree of regulation, particularly in relation to vulnerable groups. I've not been this vexed since Bertie invoked Robert Putnam. I am all for sociology being invoked in contemporary political discussions, (indeed the more the better) but all too often it is used simply as a crutch of legitimacy rather than as a vehicle for generating meaningful debate and exchange...Sociology is all to often seen as the means of legitimising the already formed policy, rather than providing the drivers for generating those policies. The one recent exception to this might be Gidden's third way, and we all know how divided sociologists are on the merits of that particular 'programme'. Perhaps the answer lies in a much more central role for a sociology of social policy, rather than the current predilection for sociology in social policy.

see link here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/jun/04/voluntarysector.davidcameron