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Social Policy Association Awards 2011

Jane Lewis (Chair in Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science), Simon Duffy (Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform) and Dexter Whitfield (Director of the European Services Strategy Unit at the University of Adelaide) have been named as winners of the 2011 Social Policy Association Annual Awards – presented at the Association’s July Annual Conference at the University of Lincoln.

The Lifetime Achievement Award – granted to Jane Lewis - is given to Association members the judges feel have made persistent contributions to research and organisation, have an international reputation, have contributed to professional bodies and associations, have made an impact on political process or discourse, and have been recognised in both academic and non-academic circles. 

Jane’s award marks her work as an eminent social policy academic, and particularly her development of the subject in the voluntary sector, European social policy, family policy, care, childcare and gender. Her ground-breaking article ‘Gender and the Development of Welfare Regimes’, has been credited with transforming the analysis of welfare regimes. On receiving her award she told delegates: 

I care deeply about social policy as a subject within our universities. The rationale for social policy departments rests in large measure on the capacity of its academic staff to look across different research areas, which are becoming ever more specialised… the situation we find ourselves in demands ever more imaginative and brave researchers who are prepared to try to put the pieces together.

Awards for Outstanding Contribution from a Non-Academic - granted to Simon Duffy and Dexter Whitfield – are made to individuals or organisations who are adjudged to have made significant and lasting contributions to the field of social policy - either through campaigning, lobbying, service provision, fundraising, journalism, funding of research, dissemination of research or through other non-academic means.

Simon’s award recognises his contribution to the creation of personal budgets and their introduction in the contexts of adult social care, health care and children’s services; and his recent work as lead coordinator of the 2011 Campaign for a Fair Society which opposes the Coalition Government’s cuts in funding for disabled people. He commented: 

It is a great honour to get this recognition from the SPA. Individual budgets are one important tool for reform of the current welfare state. It is vital that we rebuild the welfare system so that the disabled people, the poor, women and families get fairer treatment and opportunities for citizenship. It is exciting that the academic community has been open to explore some of these new approaches.

Dexter’s award celebrates his work in campaigning, research and advocacy for fairer UK state services over 40 years and, in particular, his defence of welfare services against privatisation and marketisation. Accepting the award, he commented:

I have always believed in the importance of a methodology that combines action research, strategy development, alternative policies and trade union and community organising. The recent research and exposure of PFI equity profits and the offshoring of the ownership of schools and hospitals to tax havens is a good example of this approach. The need for this four-part methodology is greater than ever given the economic and financial crisis and the planned transformation of public services and the welfare state.

The Social Policy Association promotes the study of social policy and advances the role of social policy research within policy making, practice and wider public debates. The majority of the Association’s members are teachers and researchers in social policy and applied social science within UK higher education, complemented by a significant and growing number of members from other European, Asian and Australasian countries.

Notes for editors

• The Social Policy Association is open for membership to academics and practitioners working in social policy, and to others with an interest in UK and international social policy. Individual members receive the Journal of Social Policy and Social Policy & Society free of charge. For more information visit http://www.social-policy.org.uk/.

More on Jane Lewis at: www2.lse.ac.uk/researchAndExpertise/Experts/j.lewis@lse.ac.uk.

More on Simon Duffy at: www.centreforwelfarereform.org/who-we-are/team/simon-duffy.html.

More on the European Services Strategy Unit at the University of Adelaide (Dexter Whitfield) at: www.european-services-strategy.org.uk.

Chris Blunkell: Social Policy Association
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