Regeneration policy has been a central feature of public policy in the UK since it was first recognised, during the 1960s, that the welfare state had not fully eliminated poverty. Essentially there are two broad institutional approaches to regeneration. The first involves the regeneration attempted through main government programmes and universal funding streams, the second that attempted through targeted, area-based solutions to particular social problems. To the same extent, there are two broad institutional approaches to mainstreaming. Simplified, the first involves the bending (or redirecting) of main government programmes and funding streams towards the most needy and deprived areas of society. The second involves the transferring of learning and good practice from localised area based initiatives into the mainstream. ‘Mainstreaming’, so understood, is not a new idea (CDP 1977; DoE 1977). But it is popular, critics argue, because it is low cost and because it allows government to blame others when things go wrong (Deakin and Edwards 1993). New Labour, however, has gone much further than previous appeals to reform by attempting to institutionalise mainstream change across the board, and it is these developments this review is ultimately concerned with. It does not, however, aim to foster a clear cut working definition of ‘mainstreaming’. It aims more to clarify the ways in which ‘mainstreaming’ has been defined through policy and to clarify the antecedents to the new emphasis on main government programmes and funding streams since 1997. Finally it draws out the implications of research as to why mainstreaming remains so difficult and puts forward a research agenda to examine the issues raised in more detail.
|Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) / Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
|Number of pages
|Published - 2005