During the post-war period the concept of community has increasingly become a central organising focus for policy analysis and debate. This can be seen in responses to the rediscovery of poverty in Britain’s inner cities in the 1960s (Abel-Smith and Townsend, 1965) through to New Labour’s New Deals for communities in the new millennium. The idea of community has featured prominently in a raft of contemporary policy proposals designed to modernise and reform the welfare state, particularly in adult community care, children’s services and mental health. Also in the forging of a new partnership role with the voluntary sector — see Chapter 5. The notion of an active community has been advanced to signify a new relationship between the state and the citizen, premised upon a belief in the need for the state to demand more from those who receive its services. Such an embracing and ever more demanding policy prescription has, as will be explored in Part III, influenced the nature of contemporary social work practice, captured by the slogan ‘tough love’ (Jordan, 2001).
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