England & Wales

Welfare Reform: impact, strategies and alternatives for local government


The coalition government’s welfare reform programme seeks to fundamentally refashion the welfare system in Britain. This has significant implications for local government, not least, elected members. Localisation of council tax benefit and responsibility for implementing housing benefit changes are two examples of reforms that impact on residents, council services, budgets and local economies.

This seminar sets the context for the current reform programme and goes on to offer delegates an expert insight and the tools to understand the impact of welfare changes on individuals, groups and communities. Much of the debate about welfare reform is framed by the media. The seminar will look at the research challenging the myths about the benefits system. The final session considers alternatives to the current model being shaped in Britain and whether there is a different way of redesigning the welfare system.

Delegates will receive, as part of their delegate pack, a number of specialist articles and research findings on welfare reform; including a selection of articles from a special issue of Local Economy on Welfare Reform and Labour Market Activation.


09:15-09:45  Registration and refreshments

09:45-10:00  Welcome and introductions; Alan Waters, Learning and Development Manager, LGIU; Andrew Jones, South Bank University

10:00-10:40  Social Security in Britain: an historical perspective; Andrew Jones, South Bank University

10:40-11:40  Effects of future changes to the benefits system on individuals, groups and localities; Gareth Morgan, Ferret Information Systems

11: 40-11.55  Refreshment break

11:55-12:50  Case Study: impact of welfare reforms on urban and rural communities in Norfolk; Dr Chris Edwards, University of East Anglia

12:50-13:30  Lunch

13:30-14:15  Reading between the lines: confronting the myths about the benefits system; Speaker from Elizabeth Finn Care

14:15-15:00  Social security as social investment: does the nordic model offer an alternative? Andrew Jones, South Bank University

15:00-15:30 Is there an alternative to the Coalition Government’s welfare reform programme? Discussion and next steps

15:30  Close

This programme is correct at time of publication, but programme content may be altered without notice to reflect speaker changes which are beyond our control.

  • Andrew Jones, Director of the Local Economy Policy Unit, South Bank University and Editor, Local Economy Journal
  • Gareth Morgan, Managing Director and  Founder of Ferret Information Systems
  • Dr Chris Edwards: Senior Research Associate, University of East Anglia
  • Speaker, Elizabeth Finn Care: a charity which helps individuals in need gain access benefits; charitable grants and other financial help
  • Alan Waters, Learning & Development Manager LGIU
Who should attend?
  • Councillors and council officers interested in understanding and assessing the impact of welfare reform changes on individuals, communities, council budgets and services.
  • Charities and Voluntary organisations with an interest and involvement in welfare reform.