In the third publication in the series about welfare, The Need for Roots, Simon Duffy argues that active support for equal citizenship is the life giving purpose at the root of the welfare state. He recognises the need for continual, far-reaching reform of the means to this end within a framework of universal rights. But he also challenges citizens to take responsibility for welfare reform.
Simon highlights what has commonly been overlooked in society’s response to people with disabilities as a key to citizenship: the need to dominate the way those who require assistance are treated. Delivery on the keys to citizenship offers a strong test for initiatives .
Their experience demonstrates the danger of discounting equal dignity and creating situations in which a privileged Us determines the life chances of a Them that the privileged see as of less innate worth (judgments of lesser dignity are less frequently expressed in words these days, but continue the way those who require assistance are treated.
Increased spending, professionalisation and managerialism have left the keys to citizenship much too far from their hands because public money has been spent mainly in disregard of citizenship and recognition of dignity has been overwhelmed by prejudice against different bodies and minds.
Without deep roots he argues welfare reform becomes little more than disconnected tinkering to impose a succession of politically fashionable ideas. Absent roots, history restarts with each ministry and fades as a source of guidance and understanding.
Context narrows to the technical specifics of allocation and delivery of benefits and services, so language becomes slippery and loses power to disclose cuts, contradictions and compromises in a way that leads to effective action.
Simon is the founder and Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform. He speaks regularly on television and radio about the welfare state and social policy. He is best known for inventing personal budgets and for designing systems of self-directed support. He works as a consultant and researcher with local social innovators and national governments.
Citizenship and the Welfare State Download PDF