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About this site

Are you a researcher working independently or with a campaigning charity or think tank? Are you developing or influencing the development of policy? Are you a social work student, manager, or training lead needing to keep up to date with policy change? Do you need quick access to the latest thinking?

Then Social Welfare at the British Library can help you find and use high quality research publications quickly and easily. Read on to find out more about the key features of the service and what it contains.

Key features

  • Find and download the latest research reports, summaries and government papers instantly, 24/7
  • Search and order books and journal articles from the British Library’s vast collections
  • Keep up to date with new material in your subject areas, with alerts tailored to your interests and through our monthly Welfare Reform Digest. You can register to receive personalised alerts (see button above)
  • Disseminate and preserve your work - complete the online form
  • Contact us to suggest new content or other improvements

Subjects covered

The portal offers information on all aspects of social welfare in the UK and overseas, with a particular emphasis on policy development, inplementation and evaluation:

  • Children and families - child protection, family support and youth engagement
  • Vulnerable adults - care, safeguarding and inclusion of older adults, disabled people, refugees and asylum seekers
  • Minority groups - social exclusion, discrimination and integration
  • Offenders and the criminal justice system - punishment, resettlement and rehabilitation
  • Benefits - poverty alleviation and redistribution
  • Community development and regeneration - the Big Society, community empowerment and the Third Sector
  • Education and the state - from early years to postgraduate level
  • Employment - labour market, welfare-to-work and activation policies
  • Health services - NHS reform and its impact on users
  • Housing and homelessness - social housing, private renting and the housing market
  • Social services - social work and social care in the statutory and voluntary sectors
  • Substance misuse - control and treatment

What Social Welfare at the British Library contains

The portal includes a high quality collection of full text research and evaluation reports, Parliamentary papers, consultations and policy proposals selected by our social policy curators and available for immediate download.As well as these digital documents, you’ll find details of books, journal articles, official papers, theses, archived websites and datasets in the British Library’s collections.

Our monthly current awareness bulletin, Welfare Reform Digest, keeps you up to date with the latest policy debates, controversies and developments through abstracts from research monographs and articles in academic journals, professional magazines, and quality national newspapers.

How to search the portal

If you are keeping up to date with the latest developments in a broad policy area like education or children's services, please browse our collection of digital research reports or visit Welfare Reform Digest.

If you are looking for information on a specific topic like attachment theory or foetal alcohol spectrum syndrome, please use the search function.

  • "All collections" searches all the British Library's holdings
  • "Social welfare collection" searches a relevant subset of the Library's holdings

When search results are displayed, you will be taken to Explore the British Library, our main catalogue. In your results list, you’ll find details of books, journal articles, official papers, theses, archived websites and datasets in the British Library’s collections. Most of these can be delivered to your home or office in print or electronic form or accessed immediately through hot links from your results list.


What services are free?

You can download the latest research reports, summaries and government papers in the field free of charge


What services do I have to pay for?

The high cost of journal subscriptions means we cannot deliver journal articles to your home or office free of charge. Your university, public or organisation library can provide you with print or electronic versions, or you can order them from the British Library Document Supply service on a pay as you go basis. If you have a British Library Reader Pass, you can read print or electronic journals in our reading rooms in London or Yorkshire for free.For a step-by-step guide on how to order material please visit "I want this": how to get books and journal articles from the British Library

Our Partners

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.  We have also benefited from advice and comment from TACT, Barmardo's, NatCen, Hackney Social Services, Voluntary Action Islington, National Children's Bureau, Centre for Policy on Ageing, Shelter, St Dunstan's, the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, Kings College, and the Health Services Management and Third Sector Research Centres, University of Birmingham

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Preserve and disseminate your work for free

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