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Title: Paying 'due regard'? : the impact of the Public Sector Equality Duty on service provision for single mothers
Author: Clayton-Hathway, Kate J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 460X
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2018
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The purpose of this thesis was to examine the impact of the Public Sector Equality Duty ('the Duty') on the lives of single mother, local authority service users, focusing on their experiences 'on the ground'. The discourse surrounding lone mothers has long been highly politicised, entrenched in a paradigm of dependency. This in-depth, qualitative study, undertaken between February 2013 and May 2015, used an alternative perspective of gender equality through considering the positive rights of this group. Using Bristol and Bristol City Council (BCC) as a case study, a socio-legal approach was utilised through desktop, analytical work to explore the theoretical underpinning of the Duty as 'reflexive' law, assess local policy and decision-making processes, and ascertain the services available to single mothers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 single mothers and 11 stakeholders to support a contextualised understanding of the way these services were used. Based on the analysis and findings of this research, BCC had established significant structures to deliver the Duty, effectively engaging local actors to improve organisational mechanisms and support equality. The Duty was identified as having a positive impact on single mother service users, potentially supporting their participation in public life. However, organisational mechanisms stimulated by the Duty were identified as vulnerable to ongoing austerity measures. This study contributes to knowledge in three respects. Firstly, it addresses a gap in evidence identified in the 2013 Governmental review of the Equality Duty, by showing how the Duty underpins transparent decision-making processes and, through localised, reflexive mechanisms informs service delivery that better meets the needs of service users. Furthermore, the systematic and detailed sociological study of the Duty's mechanisms explores its operation 'on the ground' from a novel perspective. Finally, through positioning single mothers as knowledgeable social actors, it offers an alternative paradigm to existing work that portrays them as passive recipients.
Supervisor: Vickers, Lucy ; Miller, Tina Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral