Because education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter with each of the countries of the United Kingdom having separate systems under separate governments , the SMC has a remit to promote social mobility in England but only to monitor progress towards improving social mobility in the other countries of the United Kingdom. Four specific responsibilities are listed on the SMC's website. The body was created by chapter 9, section 8 of the Child Poverty Act also known as the Life Chances Act , which required the establishment of an independent Child Poverty Commission to monitor the effectiveness of the Government 's then-yet-to-be-published Child Poverty Strategy. The Commission's "broader scope" incorporating social mobility was described in the Strategy as "the Government's new approach", designed "to ensure that the Commission considers the issue of child poverty within the wider context of children's life chances and inter-generational poverty" and "the crucial links between child poverty, children's life chances and social mobility".
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Because education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter with each of the countries of the United Kingdom having separate systems under separate governments , the SMC has a remit to promote social mobility in England but only to monitor progress towards improving social mobility in the other countries of the United Kingdom. Four specific responsibilities are listed on the SMC's website. The body was created by chapter 9, section 8 of the Child Poverty Act also known as the Life Chances Act , which required the establishment of an independent Child Poverty Commission to monitor the effectiveness of the Government 's then-yet-to-be-published Child Poverty Strategy.
The Commission's "broader scope" incorporating social mobility was described in the Strategy as "the Government's new approach", designed "to ensure that the Commission considers the issue of child poverty within the wider context of children's life chances and inter-generational poverty" and "the crucial links between child poverty, children's life chances and social mobility".
The SMCP Commission's role was described as being "to monitor progress against the broad range of child poverty, life chances and social mobility indicators, towards the end goal of eradicating child poverty. In semantic terms the name-change was criticised for putting together the terms "child poverty" and "social mobility" without addressing the potential "internal contradictions" of trying to deal with both at the same time, or specifying "the relative priority or importance of the two issues".
In a political studies paper published in the Political Quarterly in , the renaming was interpreted ideologically as a covert rejection of any aspirations regarding child poverty.
Noting the Commission's shift from child poverty per se to "the broad range of child poverty, life chances and social mobility indicators", the paper argued that: "While continuing to pay lip service to the goal of ending child poverty, much of the government's energy has been devoted to trying to redefine the problem of poverty, moving beyond what it sees as a narrow preoccupation with relative low income. Apart from this push factor away from ending child poverty, it has also been theorised sociologically that the pull towards headlining social mobility in government policy during the s occurred due to growing " underclass anxiety " about the political and social actions of the economically disadvantaged , especially following the England riots and latterly the vote for Brexit in the EU referendum.
In December Milburn and his three fellow Commissioners resigned. Milburn's letter of resignation , dated 2 December, explained to Prime Minister Theresa May the reasons for their decision, including roles on the Commission being vacant for almost two years and his belief that the Government was "unable to devote the necessary energy and focus to the social mobility agenda".
It also recommended that the Commission should always have at least seven members in addition to the Chair, and have an extended remit to:. Robert Halfon as the Committee's Chair argued that that the extended remit would give the Commission "real teeth" as "a new social justice body in the heart of Downing Street with the levers and powers to coordinate action to drive forward initiatives and implement solutions".
He argued that renaming the SMC as the Social Justice Commission would "ensure [that the Commission is] not just focusing on those already on the ladder but bringing them to the ladder and making sure we are there if they fall". In May the Government published its response , which rejected the Committee's recommendations. Alongside its response, the Government announced via Hinds that Martina Milburn not a family relation of Alan Milburn was its preferred candidate to succeed Alan Milburn as the Chair of the Commission.
Upon the announcement of Martina Milburn as the Government's preferred candidate in May the role of Chair was announced as unremunerated, as had been the case under Alan Milburn.
The Commission has been praised for identifying "the social closure at the upper echelons of society and the isolation of those at the bottom" as key issues, thereby "recognising where the real 'problem of mobility' lies". It has also been criticised for viewing education as a silver bullet for social mobility, and therefore focusing excessively on school effectiveness and the behaviour-management of pupils, teachers and parents.
It had earlier been noted that the New Mobility discourse was concerned with upward mobility among the deserving poor without properly considering the accompanying need for downward mobility among the undeserving rich.
In January the Commission produced a Social Mobility Index of children's life chances in different local authority areas, including data published as a MS Excel spreadsheet , with an update to the data published in a similar spreadsheet in November The Commission's Index was also used by the DfE to designate "opportunity areas" that would receive extra government funding "to address the biggest challenges they face".
In October the DfE published a "delivery plan" for each opportunity area: . An Evaluation of the "set-up phase" of the opportunity areas programme was published alongside a Selection of Case Studies in October Although only indirectly responsible for the scheme, the SMC maintained an active interest, visiting Blackpool and Oldham as part of a "north west tour" in October Publications produced by the Commission are searchable on its website.
The Commission has produced "State of the Nation" reports for , , , , and — Atherton, Graeme Bristol: Policy Press. Bamfield, Louise Political Quarterly. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Maslen, Joseph Journal of Education Policy. Institutional open access repository. Retrieved 21 October Payne, Geoff The Political Redefinition of a Sociological Problem". Contemporary Social Science. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. HM Government. Retrieved 23 October London: House of Commons.
Retrieved 22 October Parliamentary Debates Hansard. United Kingdom: House of Commons. Schools Week. Retrieved 18 October Policy Connect. Retrieved 3 December ITV News. Categories : Department for Education Non-departmental public bodies of the United Kingdom government Socio-economic mobility. Namespaces Article Talk.
Fair access to professional careers: a progress report
Social Mobility Commission
The government's adviser on social mobility will warn in a major report that the country risks squandering the chance to recreate the golden era of the s, when workers from all parts of society had the chance to join the professional classes. Alan Milburn, the former Labour health secretary, will tell ministers that despite a huge growth in white-collar work, there is evidence that people from poorer backgrounds and those living outside the south-east of England are being left behind. Speaking to the Observer , Milburn said the country had the opportunity to encourage a level of movement between the classes last seen in the s but that he had found no evidence of this happening. He said: "The chances of social mobility are greater if there are more professional jobs being created. So it is no coincidence that the s saw an unparalleled social mobility in Britain and that coincided with an upsurge in professional employment.