Welfare in Modern Britain - SO601

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
6 30 (15) DR LCE Mitton







This module provides students with basic accounts of the scope and scale of the British welfare system, and the theoretical basis for its existence and growth. The recent history and current organisation of the main areas of social welfare provision such as social security, education, health, social care and housing are explored. These services which comprise ‘the welfare state’ are situated in the broader context of welfare provided from non-state sources: the family, the market, community and voluntary sector and debates regarding how welfare should be provided and funded. The module examines how policies are formulated and the processes through which they are implemented and revised. It also considers the impact that social policies have on social inequality and difference based on class, ethnicity, gender, disability or age. Welfare in Modern Britain is a core module for those taking Social Policy and related degrees, but is also relevant to those with an interest in contemporary social problems and the policies aimed at addressing them.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

22 weekly lectures and seminars, one hour each


Every Year

Method of assessment

50% coursework (three assignments) ( Essay 1 10%, Essay 2 15%, Essay 3 25%) and 50% 3-hour written examination (summer term)

Indicative reading

Alcock, P. (2008). Social Policy in Britain. Palgrave. 3rd edition, useful general text.

J. Baldock, L. Mitton, N. Manning and S. Vickerstaff (2011) Social Policy. OUP, 4th edition, useful general text
Hudson, J., Kuhner, S. and Lowe, S. (2008) The Short Guide to Social Policy, Policy Press, especially good to get started.

Powell, M. (ed) (2007) Understanding the Mixed Economy of Welfare, Policy Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
Be able to demonstrate intermediate level comprehension of the relative roles of the core sources of welfare in Britain, in particular the contributions of the family, community, market, voluntary sector and state:
Have intermediate level knowledge of the main welfare services in Britain;
Possess intermediate level knowledge of the main sources of funding for welfare services;
Have intermediate level critical awareness of the nature of the policy processes through which welfare services evolve;
Have intermediate level comprehension of key debates relating to diversity and difference with respect to gender, ethnicity, age and disability and how this may affect both needs and welfare outcomes;
Be able to apply this knowledge to analyse and evaluate critically the organization, cost and impact of welfare services

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.