Regulating Social Welfare Services: Between Compliance and Learning
Forthcoming in International Journal of Social Welfare
26 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2018
Date Written: November 5, 2017
With the ongoing privatisation and marketisation of social welfare, the regulatory functions of governments have become much more important, necessitating careful attention. Yet there is little scholarly work on the goals and nature of regulating privatised social welfare services. To fill this gap, this study examined the regulatory process used by the Israeli Youth Protection Authority (YPA) to regulate homes for at-risk youth. Based on 24 semi-structured interviews with inspectors and staff, the article highlights the YPA’s distinctive learning-based and collaborative approach to regulating social welfare services. This approach puts the capacity-building of professional skills, rather than compliance, at the centre of the regulatory mission and leaves room for professional discretion to the homes and the inspectors. The article outlines the distinctive features of this approach, considering its advantages and shortcomings in comparison with the more legalistic and audit-based approaches currently dominating the field of social care inspection.
Keywords: privatisation, regulation, social welfare services, inspection, regulatory welfare state, residential care, Youth Protection Authority
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