Social Policy on the Web
The Web offers a growing range of on-line resources in Social
Policy, but they are not always easy to access or to use. This section
offers a brief guide, with links to key sources. Following the external
links on this site will open a new window in your browser, so that you
will still have access to this page.
Many of the sites referred to here are meta-links: they offer a
gateway to a large number of connected sites.
The links on this page should all open new windows in your browser.
This allows you to review the material without leaving this site.
If you have problems with any of the links, please let me know. I have to run
a special programme to check links, but sites change their addresses
and content so frequently that it is difficult to be certain.
- The British Library's Social Welfare Portal has links to extensive
numbers of online documents, and a service which lists summaries of new
literature in a monthly digest.
- The E
Library for Global Welfare has links to
international organisations, datasets, academic departments,
educational material and so forth. It can be difficult to browse - use
the 'Advanced Filters'.
- The University of Amsterdam has a wide-ranging guide to sociology resources.
Topics include ageing, poverty, gender, justice, welfare, housing,
These sources offer guides to virtually every country in the world.
Several international organisations produce cross-national
statistics. They include:
- The United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report
- The World Bank's World Development Indicators
- The OECD (Organisation
for Economic Cooperation and Development) covers the leading industrial
countries. Their work iincludes statistical data as well as reports on
pensions, families and children, disabled, on income distribution and
poverty, etc.is reported
- The World Health Organisations's World Health Report.
Social Policy in the European Union
This is, disappointingly, not as well covered as one might hope; the
placing of European documentation online is still haphazard.
Social Policy in the United States
is the subject of a wide range of sites. Many are politically
charged, and not very well informed about welfare issues.
Social policy in developing countries
This is one of the best served fields. In addition to the World Bank and UNDP, try:
- Global Issues site This is an exceptionally
well-written and presented site, covering poverty and development among
other issues. It has useful links to a range of sources.
- CROP This is
the International Social Science Council's Comparative Research
Programme on Poverty. The website is limited but it has links to recent
on-line documents and some conference papers.
- The International Fund for Agricultural Development has published
a report on
MOST Program MOST is a 'clearing house' for material on poverty and
- The New
Zealand Digital Library has a collection of on-line documents on
- The Global Policy Forum discusses a range of issues, including
international social policies.
Sites dealing with national social policies include:
Canadian Social Research Links offers a very wide range of
: Gerhard Bäcker's site (in German) links to other German social policy
- Japan: Social Security in Japan: towards a
Japanese model of the Welfare State, by Naomi Maruo.
Social Policy in the United Kingdom
British government reports are now being produced on the web -
unfortunately, their location is not always obvious. They are usually
produced as House of Commons (HC) or Command (Cm) papers. The main
effect of the unified site has been to make it exceedingly difficult to
find anything; probably the best way is to search on the title along
- Social Policy Digest Online. This is a valuable
resource listing most major issues and publications in the field in the
UK, with some international coverage.
carries briefings on issues, and links to online papers from all the
has a wide ranging coverage of health and social care, including a
resource bank on social work law and policy.
- Statistics on poverty in the UK are available at the New Policy
Institute site. Oxfam GB also have material on poverty in the
- There is a growing number of blogs and twitterfeeds. My own blog
is at blog.spicker.uk.
I have linked to the best, most informative blogs from there.
- History of
Historical sources include:
workhouse. This extensive site contains text, images and archival
material on the Poor Laws.
- The National Trust has acquired the building of a
former workhouse in Southwell, Nottinghamshire.
Pathé News. Pathé News has video clips covering aspects of British
history from 1896 to 1970. There are free previews and stills available
on (for example) Beveridge and the National Health Service.
- The National Archive has a worthwhile "exhibition" on
citizenship rights which includes materials on the welfare state.
Resources on specific subjects
These resources have been referred to in some of the sections of
these pages. They include:
Apart from government publications, the quality of on-line
documentation is mixed: much of what is available are conference papers
and occasional papers posted prior to conventional publication. Most
documents on-line are versions of printed material; they tend to be
large, they are usually presented in PDF format, and they can take a
long time to download. This is a fairly
miscellaneous list; suggestions would be welcome.
Note too that a growing number of universities are hosting
institutional repositories, making academic papers and reports freely
available. The open
access page on this site contains links to my own materials. Beyond
that, as part of my work for Social
policy: theory and practice, I have put together a basic list of readings that are available on the internet
and relevant to the book's chapters.