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Your plan and your essay will need to compare the British welfare system with TWO other countries’ welfare systems.

Assessment guidelines

  1. Your plan and your essay will need to compare the British welfare system with TWO other countries’ welfare systems.
  1. You need to base your comparison on ONE of the following social groups: lone parents, people in poverty, children with disabilities, adults with disabilities, older people, informal carers, homeless people, long-term unemployed, children in care, refugees, people on probation, working parents with children, young adults.
  2. If you want, you can narrow down the focus of your review to one aspect of your support, such as: financial support, social support, back-to-work support, healthcare, social care, childcare. 
  1. Your discussion needs to focus on which of the ‘five channels’ in a welfare system support your social group the most. As discussed in the unit, the five channels of welfare are: the state and public sector agencies, market and businesses, family and kinship support, local community bodies, and civil society. You need to find out which are dominant channels providing support to your social group in which country. For example, in A country, it is the state that provides the most generous support, whereas in B country, it is the civil society (e.g. charities) that provides the most support. You should not focus on the state provision only, as the state is unlikely to be the only channel of support in any country’s welfare system. You need to discuss at least three of the five channels of welfare in your essay.
  1. In your discussion of the three countries’ welfare systems and the role of the five channels of welfare, you are expected to use at least seven sources, including two academic journal articles/books per country. You can only use lecture notes for your section discussing the comparative method and lectures notes will not be considered academic sources. Over reliance on lecture notes will be penalised. The references should be arranged using Harvard style.

Your plan/essay should include the following elements:

a)      Introduction: The introduction paragraph should outline a) your objectives; b) your choice of countries (one of them should be the UK); c) your social group and d) the structure of your essay (how your comparative review is going to be organised).

b)      The comparative method: In the second paragraph, you should provide a brief explanation of the comparative method. You need to demonstrate your understanding of comparative method (e.g. what is comparative method and which method you are using). Even though you are expressing ideas in your own words, you must still reference your source. You can use lecture notes for this part of your review, but, again these should be referenced if used. Lecture notes do not count as academic sources.

c)       Similarities and differences: There should be a section discussing the similarities and differences between your countries’ welfare systems in relation to your chosen social group. Your discussion should be focused on a) whether your social group is treated similarly or differently in the three countries’ welfare systems and b) which ‘channels’ provide support for your social group in each country and what types of support are they providing? Remember that you need to discuss at least three of the five channels of welfare.

d)      Possible reasons for similarities and differences: You need to discuss the possible reasons for the similarities and differences between the three countries’ welfare systems in supporting your social group. Why are there similarities and differences between how each country supports your social group? You need to think about plausible reasons for the similarities and differences from what you have learned about the three welfare systems. You may want to consider the impact of social, economic, historical, political and geographical factors on each country’s welfare system. Why certain welfare channels are more prominent in a country (or in two countries), but not in the others? Could it be due to the history of the country, the state of the economy, the politics, religion, culture, the size of the country, the location, the language used, or the lack or generosity of other welfare channels? Try to construct a hypothesis arising from your review of the three countries’ welfare system.

Conclusion: You must draw a conclusion in a separate final paragraph where you draw the threads of your discussion together and show how you have addressed your objectives in the introduction paragraph

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