Webwatch – Social Welfare at the British Library

Welfare reform has had a significant impact on benefit claimants and the supports that vulnerable people in society receive. Access to quality and consistent information is important in ensuring that people are prepared for any changes they encouter.

The British Library has created a portal (website) of social welfare resources, with a particular emphasis on policy development, implementation and evaluation. It aims to provide up-to-date information on topics including children and families, older adults, people with disabilities, minority groups; community development and regeneration; welfare benefits; employment, education, health, housing and social services; and offenders and the criminal justice service.

It is a resource for researchers working independently or with a campaigning charity or think tank, those developing or influencing the development of policy, social work students, managers, or training leads needing to keep up to date with policy change.

Key features include the latest research reports, summaries and government papers; books and journal articles from the British Library collections; alerts tailored to interests; and a monthly Welfare Reform Digest. Full bibliographic references with detailed abstracts give both the flavour of the cut and thrust of the debate and an overview of the research literature. The research reports collection mainly covers the situation in the UK, but the Welfare Reform Digest includes abstracts of articles on policy development in both the UK and other western countries to facilitate comparative research and policy borrowing. The resource also contains links to social science databases, websites and repositories.

Social Welfare at the British Library has been developed with support from the Social Care Institute for Excellence and the University of Staffordshire, Social Work and Advice Studies. Advice and comment was also sought from a number of social services and voluntary sector organisations, and educational institutions.

Visit the Social Welfare at the British Library website.