The UK welfare state is under sustained ideological and political attack. It has also been undermined by accusations of paternalism and past failures to engage with the very people it is intended to help.
This unique book is the first to critique the past, present and future welfare state from a participatory perspective. Peter Beresford, champion of user involvement, draws on pioneering theories and practice of welfare service user movements to offer a blueprint for a new participatory social policy. He controversially challenges orthodox social policy and the limitations of both Fabian and Neo-liberal perspectives in engaging people to improve their own welfare, drawing on service users ‘ own ideas and experience, including fascinating vignettes from his own family’s experience, to demonstrate the value of ‘user knowledge’.
Filling a much-needed gap in the literature, this accessible text will provide a great introduction for students and a road-map for practitioners of an alternative vision for a future participatory and sustainable social policy. It will also command much wider interest from everyone concerned with how we look after each other in future in society.
Peter Beresford OBE is Professor of Citizen Participation at the University of Essex and Emeritus Professor at Brunel University London. He has a background as a long-term user of mental health services and welfare benefits. He is also Co-Chair of Shaping Our Lives, the disabled people’s and service users’ organisation, network and think tank. He has a longstanding involvement in issues of participation as service user, writer, researcher, campaigner and educator.
Introduction: Owning not othering our welfare;
Part One: The legacy of the past;
Setting the scene for welfare and social policy;
The origins of the welfare state;
The welfare state and pressures from the war;
The principles of the welfare state;
The welfare state: Whose consensus?;
Back to the past;
What’s wrong with social policy?;
Part Two: The way to the future;
The beginnings of something different;
A new set of principles for social policy;
A new approach to social policy;
Welfare policy for the twenty first century;
Supporting each other in the future;
Afterword: The future: a different way forward?
"All our welfare provides an astute and important critique of British social policy as a discipline, as well as acting as a manifesto for changes in it." Critical Policy Studies
"All Our Welfare is a wonderful book, full of hope and inspiration. It offers very practical ideas rooted in the experience of people from all walks of life, and it shows how a society in which we care for each other is both desirable and achievable." Dan Paskins, Head of Policy and Learning at Big Lottery Fund.
"An illuminating, enjoyable and encouraging read which is highly recommended." - Ekklesia
"This book is a rollicking good read! "All Our Welfare" by Peter Beresford is accessible and engaging not only because it comes from deep personal and professional perspectives backed up by evidence, but also because it's been written from the heart" - Waterstones
"A remarkable work that highlights the past, present and possible future welfare state from a ‘participatory perspective’ and offers the reader the opportunity to consider a future welfare state that actually includes user involvement in developing social policy." Mo Stewart, Disability studies researcher
"an interesting introductory history of UK welfare policies and a particularly useful resource for understanding the principles and practices of social policy service user movements." Ethics and Social Welfare
"This book does not duck the complexities of the history of the welfare state and its current forms. It interleaves formal analyses with personal testimony to great effect. It is well researched and refreshing." Diana Rose, Professor King's College London
"An excellent discussion and I recommend the book." Natalie Bennett, Leader, Green Party, panel member at launch for All our welfare
"Beresford's book has the character of its message: participation. The ubiquity of personal experience makes it a really engaging book to read." Citizen's Income Trust
"Beresford’s book makes an integral contribution towards re-conceiving the welfare of citizens, rather than social policy for citizens" - Critical and Radical Social Work
"This book has already established itself in contributing not only to how we think about social policy, but to how we think about our relationships with users and therefore the constructs we develop to humanise our services." Change Agents Blog
"[Peter Beresford] challenges conventional wisdom and in turn subjects the dominant narrative to critical inquiry. He puts forward a very convincing alternative, based on democracy and service-user participation." Sean Creaney, Times Higher Education
"All our Welfare is a thought-provoking book that offers a timely challenge to much contemporary academic social policy...it is enriched by the author's personal experience." LSE Review of Books
"All Our Welfare deftly weaves together history, policy and personal experiences to examine the pasts and possible futures of welfare in Britain. This timely and moving book is an important reminder that what welfare is really about is ‘how we look after each other in society’." Imogen Tyler, Lancaster University
"Peter Beresford is one of our best and most trenchant critics of the impact of neoliberal policies on social work services, service users and welfare provision more generally. This stimulating and important book deserves to be read widely." Michael Lavalette, Liverpool Hope University
“A very grounded picture utilising the huge amount of research Beresford has done with different groups of service-users setting out …the main barriers to getting help or what people say they want when asked…a compelling argument.” - Journal of Social Policy
"Welfare reform doesn't need to mean cuts and privatisation. As this crucial book demonstrates, a dynamic, participatory system is an alternative to both the market and top-down bureaucracies. A much needed contribution." Owen Jones, author and Guardian columnist
"An imaginative, challenging and valuable rethink of the welfare state, with a unique bottom-up focus from the perspective and interests of the people it was created to serve." Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
"An incisive, compelling and highly personal case for a more democratic and participative social policy which fills the user perspective gap left by many others." Alan Walker, University of Sheffield