Sadlowski, Iris (2014). 'New approaches for a local social policy design – social planning from a capabilities view' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, 2-5 September 2014, Athens, Greece.
Example of a german middle-size town (100 000 pop.)
As soon as social policy design in practice got more professional in the last years and neoliberal thoughts got out of fashion, social politics got more holistic and well-being. The typical 'set' of local social policies with their services and institutions is on one hand side ruled by the paradigm of subsidiarity (German Welfare State), on the other hand side – and partly as a consequence - it represents an agglomeration of historic situation-dependent solutions.
This motivates the need for a new orientation in social policy which
a) is intelligible in the broad local democratic discourse
b) proposes rational criteria for evaluation and governance
c) provides tools to connect the superceded concepts in social services and institutions to a new comprehensive social policy model
d) improves well-being in the local community
The CA provides the missed link between the mentioned aspects: Applying the CA, there is no more need to survey the outcome of social policy by invested resources or by the functionings-output. The CA offered a new perspective to associate policies cross-discipline by the newly introduced 'valuable doings, beings and becomings' identified as leading dimensions. By these new criteria it showed up to be possible to break – at least in the discussion - the institutional barriers of segmented social services and to get more outlooks on possible synergies and win-win solutions.
The question of differing access to social services and infrastructure depending on social group lead to a focus on conversion factors and choice process. Granted services are systematically under demanded by social groups with low well-being achieved. Some reasons can be identified in the context of conversion: Reasons could be, that transparency of social services or social infrastructure is not realized, people have too low knowledge how to acces to valuable capabilities or how to present themselves and act in the context of agency. The second crucial step is the choice process: Often sociocultural barriers such as the impression of not to be suitable impede the activation of potential, which could have been accessed in local society.
The author will present how the CA was introduced in the public discourse, which policy instruments were used to develop and implement new objectives orientated to improve 'valuable doings and beings' for the people and which role 'agency' took over in relation to the established institutions. Conversion und choice abilities entered as concepts in policy design as new instruments like information by sociocultural peers as well as deliberately low thresholds for participation. This will be illustrated by examples out of the evaluation process, the workshops with involvement of citizen and by contrasting old-concepts with new social services as results of the recent development process.