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Transformational moments?

Brewis, G., Ellis Paine, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-4385-5098, Hardill, I. , Lindsey, R. & Macmillan, R. (2021). Transformational moments? In: Transformational Moments in Social Welfare. (pp. 1-26). Bristol, UK: Policy Press. doi: 10.47674/9781447357230


This book argues that the 2010s witnessed the most significant renegotiation of social welfare provision in England since the consolidation of the welfare state in the 1940s. William Beveridge asserted in his landmark 1942 report Social Insurance and Allied Services that ‘a revolutionary moment in the world’s history is a time for revolutions’ (Beveridge, 1942: 6). This book considers these two decades, the 2010s and the 1940s, as two transformational moments in which the boundaries between voluntary action, the state, family and the market were rethought.

Although the 1940s saw the restructuring of welfare provision, which resulted in the post-war state assuming primary responsibility for the delivery of social welfare services, this did not rule out a continued role for voluntary-provided social services and the involvement of volunteers. In the late 1940s, when the so-called ‘moving frontier’ between state and voluntary welfare provision shifted, a period of intense debate about the nature of voluntary social service and its future direction in England ensued. It is now widely accepted that the war years and Labour government (1945–51) laid down the principal institutions of what has been called the ‘classic welfare state’ (Digby, 1989). Yet how far the 1940s debate on voluntary action influenced the design of social welfare policy, and how far it signalled an important period of adjustment and renewal for voluntarism has never been fully investigated.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: © Bristol University Press 2021. The digital PDF and ePub versions of this title are available Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence ( which permits adaptation, alteration, reproduction and distribution for non-commercial use without further permission provided the original work is attributed.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HS Societies secret benevolent etc
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
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