The UK welfare state is under sustained ideological and political attack. It has also been undermined by accusations of paternalism and past failures to engage with the very people it is intended to help.
This unique book is the first to critique the past, present and future welfare state from a participatory perspective. Peter Beresford, champion of user involvement, draws on pioneering theories and practice of welfare service user movements to offer a blueprint for a new participatory social policy. He controversially challenges orthodox social policy and the limitations of both Fabian and Neo-liberal perspectives in engaging people to improve their own welfare, drawing on service users ‘ own ideas and experience, including fascinating vignettes from his own family’s experience, to demonstrate the value of ‘user knowledge’.
Filling a much-needed gap in the literature, this accessible text will provide a great introduction for students and a road-map for practitioners of an alternative vision for a future participatory and sustainable social policy. It will also command much wider interest from everyone concerned with how we look after each other in future in society.
Peter Beresford OBE is Professor of Citizen Participation at the University of Essex and Emeritus Professor at Brunel University London. He has a background as a long-term user of mental health services and welfare benefits. He is also Co-Chair of Shaping Our Lives, the disabled people’s and service users’ organisation, network and think tank. He has a longstanding involvement in issues of participation as service user, writer, researcher, campaigner and educator.
"This book is a rollicking good read! "All Our Welfare" by Peter Beresford is accessible and engaging not only because it comes from deep personal and professional perspectives backed up by evidence, but also because it's been written from the heart" - Waterstones
"This text is a breath of fresh air. It offers an alternative to the dominant neo-liberal approach, advocating greater service user involvement and prioritising shared decision making. All our welfare is essential reading for anyone with an interest in health and social care and social policy." Sean Creaney, Advisor at Social Justice Charity Peer Power UK
"An illuminating, enjoyable and encouraging read which is highly recommended." - Ekklesia
"All Our Welfare is a wonderful book, full of hope and inspiration. It offers very practical ideas rooted in the experience of people from all walks of life, and it shows how a society in which we care for each other is both desirable and achievable." Dan Paskins, Head of Policy and Learning at Big Lottery Fund.
"A remarkable work that highlights the past, present and possible future welfare state from a ‘participatory perspective’ and offers the reader the opportunity to consider a future welfare state that actually includes user involvement in developing social policy." Mo Stewart, Disability studies researcher
"All Our Welfare deftly weaves together history, policy and personal experiences to examine the pasts and possible futures of welfare in Britain. This timely and moving book is an important reminder that what welfare is really about is ‘how we look after each other in society’." Imogen Tyler, Lancaster University
"Welfare reform doesn't need to mean cuts and privatisation. As this crucial book demonstrates, a dynamic, participatory system is an alternative to both the market and top-down bureaucracies. A much needed contribution." Owen Jones, author and Guardian columnist
"An imaginative, challenging and valuable rethink of the welfare state, with a unique bottom-up focus from the perspective and interests of the people it was created to serve." Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation