‘Substantial progress’ on social justice strategy

There has been 'substantial progress' over the past year in promoting social justice, according to the coalition government's first annual progress report on its social justice strategy.

The strategy, published in March 2012, defines social justice in terms of transforming the lives of the most disadvantaged individuals and families. A set of seven 'key indicators' covers issues such as family breakdown, educational inequality, reoffending (by both young people and adults), worklessness, drug and alcohol addiction, and 'social investment'. The indicators do not cover low income.

Key progress claims

  • Family stability
    Free advice services have been used by over 12 million parents in England alone, alongside over 48,000 couple counselling sessions, and help for 10,000 families with disabled children to maintain stronger relationships. Ahead of expectations, local authorities have already turned around the lives of 1,675 'troubled' families.
  • Worklessness
    The Work Programme is providing specialised support to 837,000 people, with providers paid for lasting job outcomes. The 'universal jobmatch' scheme is revolutionising the way over 2 million people find and progress in work, and inactivity has fallen to its lowest level for two decades. There are 400,000 fewer people out of work than a year ago.
  • Drug and alcohol addiction
    The government has launched pioneering pilot programmes that are helping drug and alcohol addicts to turn their lives around. Two further pilots are due to be launched soon in which providers are paid more money when they find lasting work for people engaged in treatment for drug and drink problems - an extra £2,500 for each participant who stays in work for six months.
  • Social investment
    The UK is now the 'world-leader' in this field, with 13 social impact bonds and the establishment of the £600 million Big Society Capital – the world’s first social investment institution of its kind.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith MP said the strategy marked an 'historic break' from previous approaches that 'despite many good intentions' had done little to transform people’s lives.

Coinciding with the progress report, the government also published two pieces of baseline analysis on its social justice indicators – one on worklessness, and the other on family breakdown.

Social Justice: Transforming Lives – One Year On, Cm 8606, Department for Work and Pensions, TSO | Duration on Working-Age Benefits, Great Britain, Department for Work and Pensions | Percentage of Children Living with Both Birth Parents, by Age of Child and Household Income; and Estimated Happiness of Parental Relationships, Department for Work and Pensions
LinksReport | Analysis (worklessness) | Analysis (family breakdown) | Hansard | DWP press release | Marriage Foundation press release | Daily Mail report | Telegraph report (1) | Telegraph report (2)
See alsoSocial Justice: Transforming Lives, Cm 8314, Department for Work and Pensions, TSO (March 2012)