Speeding up or Reaching out? Efficiency and Unmet Need as Policy Priorities in Wales

Dave Sayers, Jamie Harding, Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein, Michael Coffey, Frances Rock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The Welsh Assembly, a devolved legislature in the UK, and its executive the Welsh Government, have a distinctly intensive commitment to equality – emphasising universality with weighty obligations on public services. This article uses the ‘discourse-historical approach’ (DHA) to critically review an eleven-year social service reform strategy (produced in 2007), and to weigh up the priorities of fiscal efficiency and universal equality. We refer to these competing priorities as ‘speeding up’ and ‘reaching out’, respectively. Our findings show an imbalance towards the former, largely sidelining the possible value of services to those currently under-served. The article discusses this mismatch in respect of the dominant policymaking framework of ‘New Public Management’ and its emphases on productivity, efficiency, and quantifiable accountability. We also show the value of DHA in analysing ‘fights for dominance’ – in this case between competing discourses within a flagship policy document.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-411
JournalJournal of Language and Politics
Volume16
Issue number4
Early online date25 Apr 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2017

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