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Title: The experience of social policy reform for voluntary advice organisations : a multi-site case study in Liverpool
Author: Griffiths, J.
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2019
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Social policy reform following the Welfare Reform Act 2012 has led to a shift in demand for voluntary advice organisations that are both advising on and dealing with issues related to these changes simultaneously. The existing body of literature focusses on the operations of advice organisation Citizens Advice, this thesis expands the body of knowledge through an exploration of varying structures of voluntary advice organisations. The social policy reforms that have been introduced following the Welfare Reform Act 2012 are disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable individuals in society, although there remains little insight into the voluntary advice organisations that help individuals navigate these changes. Therefore, the main aim of this thesis was to gather an understanding of these experiences for voluntary advice organisations in order to aid future perceptions of social policy reform in the sector. Liverpool, one of the most heavily impacted cities following these reforms, was used as the fieldwork site for this research. Three case study sites were explored with voluntary organisations that varied in organisational structure, Federal, Local Providing and Local Empowering to discover how their experiences differed. Qualitative interviews were carried out with representatives from the roles within the hierarchy of each organisation, gathering comparative data regarding the differences in the experience of volunteers, employees and managers. This thesis reveals that volunteers at the 'front-line' of advice experience change most significantly as they develop the closest relationship to service users and their issues, whilst keeping abreast of fast-paced change within their often-irregular voluntary roles. This thesis also provides an understanding of the provision of advice at varying structures of voluntary advice organisations, exploring their role and the relationships that occur within local communities. Local organisations for example, have greater autonomy to provide advice that is community focussed. It contributes to the existing body of knowledge as it investigates a variety of organisational structures, highlighting that the experiences of social policy change do occur in different ways both within and between voluntary advice organisations. This thesis offers a broader understanding of the way in which voluntary advice organisations experience social policy reform, dependent on their organisational structure and their hierarchical relationships with service users.
Supervisor: Millward, P. ; Metcalf, L. ; Allen, C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform