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Title: Policy learning and policy change : advocacy groups and key moments in Irish homelessness policy
Author: Burke, Patrick Joseph
ISNI:       0000 0004 2722 4557
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2011
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This dissertation identifies three key moments of policy change in the area of homelessness in Ireland. The key change moments identified point to specific moments when official government policy in relation to homelessness explicitly changed. The first moment was the enactment of the 1988 Housing Act in which for the first time the state defined and recognised that homelessness. Second, the publication in 2000 of Homelessness - An Integrated Strategy - the first national integrated strategy on homelessness. At this moment the state formally recognised the multi- faceted nature of homelessness and the reality that a co-ordinated response was needed. Third, the publication of The Way home: A Strategy to Address Adult Homelessness in Ireland 2008-2013, which sets out 2010 as the target date for the elimination of rough sleeping and long term homelessness. I use Sabatier's Advocacy Coalition Framework as the theoretical framework for my analysis. Having identified the key moments of policy change in the area of homelessness in Ireland the critical questions of my dissertation emerge. First, what drives these moments? I identify a number of societal factors which drive the moments of policy change. First, the increased numbers and visibility of homelessness, second, the growing heterogeneity of the homelessness, third, the growing consensus on the need for a definition of homelessness, fourth, the growing influence of the non-profit sector as advocates and fifth, the existence of a culture of policy- orientated learning. The second critical question asks what characterizes the development of non-profit sector thinking and advocacy on homelessness. I note first that non-profits are united at the level of a core belief that everybody ought to have access to adequate housing, second, non-profits successfully garner support from the public through their campaigning work, third, there is a movement from the individualistic versus structuralist debate on the causes of homelessness, fourth, the sector has a deep knowledge of the many nexus between homelessness and other social issues, fifth, the sector constructs itself as 'the expert' on homelessness and a necessary partner to government. The third critical question explores the nature of the policy orientated learning in the lead up to these critical moments. I note that first, policy orientated learning is incremental, second, policy orientated learning is evidence based, third, policy orientated learning exhibits a deep commitment to a core belief and fourth, that is non conflictual at the level of this core belief. In conclusion the dissertation presents a number of recommendations which arise from the reached.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D. Gov.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available