The contribution of e-government to the "new conditionality" in social policy

Henman, Paul (2009). The contribution of e-government to the "new conditionality" in social policy. In: Dan Remenyi, Proceedings of the 9th European Conference on e-Government. 9th European Conference on e-Government, London, England, (345-351). 29-30 June, 2009.

Author Henman, Paul
Title of paper The contribution of e-government to the "new conditionality" in social policy
Conference name 9th European Conference on e-Government
Conference location London, England
Conference dates 29-30 June, 2009
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 9th European Conference on e-Government
Journal name Proceedings of the European Conference on e-Government, ECEG
Place of Publication Reading UK
Publisher Academic Publishing Limited
Publication Year 2009
Year available 2009
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 978-906638-33-7
ISSN 2049-1034
Editor Dan Remenyi
Start page 345
End page 351
Total pages 7
Language eng
Abstract/Summary Governments are increasingly introducing new conditions for the receipt of social benefits and services. Such conditions represent a discontinuity from previous conditional policies. This "new conditionality" is notable in its linking of two previously separate social policy domains. Workfare - that is, the linking of income support to employment activity - is the perhaps the first and exemplary instance of the new conditionality. Receipt of cash benefits are also being linked to school attendance and absence of bad parenting, public housing is linked to appropriate social behaviour, and access to health services conditional on non-violent behaviour. Drawing on empirical studies of e-government projects, this paper examines the rise of the new conditionality in social policy and the contribution of e-government in enabling and enhancing such an approach. The paper observes the neo-liberal and neo-paternalism political rationalities that have given rise to such policies. Neoliberal rationalities, which understand individual behaviour as responding to incentives and disincentives, see new conditionality as a way to induce behavioural change through financial incentives. Neo-paternalism, which seeks to regulate and monitor "failed" citizens, uses new conditionality as a means to induce what is regarded as appropriate behaviour. The paper argues that a consideration of this policy dynamic is not complete without recognising the contribution of networked information and communication technologies. Such technologies enable policy administrators to make the necessary data transfer needed for the implementation of such policies. The paper examines the way in which the new conditionality in social policy reconstitutes social problems, the administration of social policy and the relationship between citizens and the state. In particular, it is argued that such policies individualise social policy and social problems, regularly misunderstand the nature of social problems, and often undermine other public policy objectives.
Subjects E1
940204 Public Services Policy Advice and Analysis
970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
160808 Sociology and Social Studies of Science and Technology
160512 Social Policy
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Sub-type: Fully published paper
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Created: Tue, 09 Mar 2010, 05:25:34 EST by Elena Stewart on behalf of School of Social Work and Human Services