The social impact of advice during disability welfare reform: from social return on investment to evidencing public value through realism and complexity

Michelle Farr, Peter Cressey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article illustrates how advice services create diverse public values within welfare reform. It develops a social impact framework using public value, realism, and complexity literature. Starting from a social return on investment study of advice, qualitative interviews are analysed with twenty-two clients, who sought advice for welfare benefits, and had disabilities, or physical or mental health conditions. Integrating these clients’ experiences with wider evidence illustrates how advice services advocated for people’s needs within a complicated (and controversial) welfare system. However, advice services face funding cuts, benefit assessment costs have risen, and welfare reforms have yet to meet their aims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-263
Number of pages26
JournalPublic Management Review
Issue number2
Early online date18 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018



  • Advice services
  • complexity
  • disability
  • mental health
  • public value
  • realist evaluation
  • social impact
  • social return on investment
  • welfare reform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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