Sunday, 8 June 2008

Moral, But No Compass - continued

See below for earlier reports.

Here is the publisher’s website description:
Moral, But No Compass
Government, Church and the Future of Welfare

In the heyday of Thatcherism the Church of England and the Conservative government of the day locked horns over the principles, policies, and strategic direction of the welfare state. The ensuing public debate, fraught with emotion, led to fundamental shifts in the political climate, not least with regard to the poorest members of UK society.

This new major study for the Church of England, drawing on hundreds of interviews and survey questionnaires, describes the modern setting in which the Labour Party’s welfare and related voluntary sector policies often are experienced as “discriminatory”, inadequately rooted in evidence and at risk of failing the faith communities. The government is “moral, with no compass” and needs to recover a principled approach to public service reform grounded in gift, covenant, advocacy and justice. Such an approach also demands a richer appreciation of the “civic value” added to the life, identity and health of the nation by Christian institutions in partnership with the whole realm of civil society. The Church too must adapt to the changing times, overcoming its (mistaken) perception that it is well understood by society. If the crisis of evidence and conversation can be repaired, the Church is in a position, should it so wish, to engage in even more extensive social entrepreneurship, community activism and public advocacy.

The report covers:
• Historical background of welfare;
• Critical assessment of the Labour and Conservative Party’s policy positions;
• The failures of third sector evidence and policy design in Government and at the Charity Commission;
• Analysis of the assets and membership of social voices, both secular and faith-based;
• New data on the capability and potential of Anglican dioceses as social incubators;
• Fresh insights into the role of cathedrals as civic actors and economic hubs;
• New information on the civic contribution of bishops.
• The Church’s view of principles needed by Government for ethical commissioning, as well as its reservations about the present funding regime.

ISBN: 978-1-898366-91-1

And here is further comment by Simon Barrow in Church Caught In A Spin Over Welfare.

…The initial reporting about Moral, But No Compass has been rather selective, “well spun” and based on what was either a leaked document or a deliberately placed one. In any event, the full report was originally embargoed until a press conference in London tomorrow at 11am and will still be unveiled in full then, though the tone of reception and response has already been established. The archbishops of Canterbury and York will apparently issue a statement.

There is much more to be said about this (I’m respecting the embargo, even if the rush to summary judgment has already begun), but my opening comment on behalf of Ekklesia was as follows: “We believe a more careful, calm and critical evaluation is needed of the role of faith groups in public service provision. It is particularly important that the needs of the vulnerable and the reasonable expectation of all people (whether religious or non-religious) for equal treatment from public services should not be subsumed too readily in a ‘contracting-out’ culture that can put the interests of providers – government, voluntary and private agencies – ahead of those they are supposed to be helping. Research and thought is badly needed, but a confused ‘debate’ fuelled by sensational headlines and half-truths will not help anybody.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 8 June 2008 at 5:39pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

Oh dear. Not again. Someone needs to take Lambeth Palace by the hand and give them the basic course in media relations. Perhaps the Countess of Wessex? She's done wonders for the battered Royals.

Posted by: Charlotte on Sunday, 8 June 2008 at 5:50pm BST

Wow I really, really, really appreciate the hard work that Simon B and Ekkelsia do so often - to consider and think through, then comment or analyze, hot button or foundational issues in modern 21st century church life and society.

Many, many, many thanks to all involved. Your light helps light up my path.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 8 June 2008 at 8:45pm BST

I agree drdanfee. The Ekkelesia team have done some great stuff in recent times, they are a beacon of hope against some of the most selfish and complacent forms of Christianity this planet has ever seen.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Monday, 9 June 2008 at 9:42pm BST
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