Delivering Services in Multicultural Societies (New Frontiers of Social Policy)

Promoting Health Equity: A New Challenge for Frontiers in Public Health
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Pages Health and Health Care in Post-industrial Society. Citizenship and Education in Post-industrial Societies. Back Matter Pages About this book Introduction In recent years, major social forces such as: aging populations, social trends, migration patterns, and the globalization of economies, have reshaped social welfare policies and practices across the globe. They tend to be highly resistant to change and prefer to continue the practice of carrying out their transactions solely in cash Recent immigrants and refugees face particular problems, partly through low income and partly through lack of appropriate documentation Cultural and religious factors can also have an impact In addition to this, migrants from some specific areas often have either a poor or even no knowledge of the banking system or have little trust in it.

For this reason, they are reluctant to engage with banks. Together, ethnicity and low income can lead to geographical concentrations of serious financial exclusion. In drawing up a picture of factors that contribute to difficulty of access to the banking and financial services industries, there are three further issues that increase the risk of financial exclusion in the broad sense of the term: - underbanked people and the use of fringe banks; over-indebtedness and payment incidents; financial illiteracy and other forms of misuse of the financial system. See Anderloni L.

Atkinson and O. Pilley , Gloukoviezoff G.

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Whyley, J. Caskey and S. Collard Aro and P. Righetti and chapter 10 in this book. About Islamic finance, see Llewellyn D. Iqbal eds Because of this they use alternative channels. In Sweden, internet banking is widespread and bank transactions at the counter are financially penalised and those without access to a computer and to the internet suffer.

New Frontiers in Banking Services

In some contexts, the fact that the unbanked or underbanked individuals use fringe banking services is a matter of some considerable concern since they tend to be associated with exorbitant costs and unfair conditions. The sector comprises both providers with a long tradition of meeting the needs of marginal customers in particular the pawnshops that provide credit upon pledge, that experienced an exponential development in the 80s 25, as well as newcomers to the market cheque cashing firms, pay-day loan firms, rent-to-owns and, more generally, finance and loan companies , who provide, immediate cash to this market segment.

This case is forthcoming at the expense of very high charges, since they associate a high premium to the risk involved. In these countries, increasing attention has come to be paid to these services and their impact on their customers — most of whom are economically fragile. In some other countries for example in Italy and Caskey J. See Caskey J. Thibault et alia and Gardener and P. Molyneux and several articles on the daily press in However, since the phenomenon has not been studied in detail, it is not really possible to get an accurate picture of its size, its ways of working and the dangers involved.

The above-mentioned studies clearly show, however, the risks associated with the fringe banking sector, particularly for lowincome, socially and economically fragile customers. In fact, the sector encourages a vicious cycle where indebtedness grows, the costs of servicing debt increases, and the repayment arrangements become ever more demanding, with the result that the financial situation of those dependent on the sector becomes more and more difficult with an increased risk of poverty as a result.

In fact, in addition to being associated with financial exclusion on account of difficulties in accessing the financial services market, modern economies also see financial exclusion resulting from exclusion from the market as a result of over-indebtedness, and when the situation has been faced in a way that is damaging At the same time there is another growing form of indebtedness. These are of course illegal operations that remain out of the legal credit market and for which even the rules on threshold usury rates are ineffective.

Gloukoviezoff in this volume. It should be remembered at this point that over-indebtedness can result not only from the need to keep up loan payments, but may also result from other commitments including rent, utilities, insurances, taxes and duties or cash advances within family structures. In fact, while over-indebtedness can affect all sections of the population, researches have shown that it is primarily related to low income.

Delivering Services in Multicultural Societies

Besides lower incomes, separations and divorces are also often major factors. Over-indebtedness has, then, important and complex links with social and financial exclusion. While over-indebtedness is often a consequence of social exclusion it can also be a direct cause of exclusion, leading to exclusion not only from financial services, but also from other spheres of economic life such as telecommunications, housing or even employment. Problems of over-indebtedness mostly arise through changes in circumstances that give rise to an unexpected decline in income, making existing commitments unaffordable.

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This can include job loss, divorce and the onset of long-term sickness and disability. Some of these tend to be concentrated among young families. At the same time, it is important to note that people who are already socially excluded, and living on low income for long periods of time, also have a high risk of over-indebtedness, particularly taking into account all their household commitments rather than simply consumer borrowing.


Viewing fragility in this way allows one to recognize that all countries experience fragility, although to different degrees. There is a revival of the community spirit, inherent in the Asian way of life. Although the best global data indicate human suffering and economic loss are worsening in the face of natural hazards,2 the number of people affected compared with the total population is declining Kasperson et al. Under the Creative Commons Attribution license, you are free to copy, distribute, transmit, and adapt this work, including for commercial purposes, under the following conditions: Attribution—Please cite the work as follows: Marc, Alexandre, Alys Willman, Ghazia Aslam, Michelle Rebosio, with Kanishka Balasuriya. Prosperity Without Growth? One philosophic foundation not addressed in these discussions is a public role for the humanities rooted in the American tradition of pragmatism. Yet no reason exists to expect that the process is inevitable or automatic.

This is distinguished, from a logical point of view, from active overindebtedness. In this context, there is no revenue or parts of it and the income flows has been interrupted or reduced; at the same time, some unplanned liabilities have emerged diseases, disability, rising rent costs. The distinction on the practical point of view is not always evident.

For example, modern credit ratings techniques, allow personal information to be distributed through centralised credit reporting systems, so that someone with negative credit information such as a default can find themselves excluded in future from access to finance and, as mentioned above, also telecommunication or even employment; the means of preventing the risk of over-indebtedness occurring34 and the ways of dealing with it, once the difficulties have reached a climax35, are often the same as the ones that can be used to prevent the risk of financial exclusion and to help economically and culturally fragile people develop a relationship with the financial system.

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Besides its links with financial exclusion in general, the issue of the financial exclusion of households has given rise to two particular concerns at EU level. In the countries where consumer credit is very widespread, people are becoming over-indebted simply through overborrowing. These people are not necessarily living on low incomes: indeed to obtain the levels of credit they have, they need to be in fairly secure jobs on middle incomes. They are people who are active consumers, who frequently aspire to a life style that they cannot afford on their income — consequently they live beyond their means by borrowing heavily.

They also tend to be relatively young, since this is the time when household budgets are most limited and the need to borrow arises. This is in the context of European Union moves towards a single harmonised market for financial services, progress with the Financial Service Action Plan36 and the proposal for modifying the Directive on consumer credit The priority is to find a balance between the goals of maintaining accessible and affordable credit together with the promotion of the internal market, while ensuring at the same time, a high degree of protection for consumers throughout the European Union.


Delivering Services in Multicultural Societies (New Frontiers of Social Policy) [ Alexandre Marc] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Over the . Home >; New Frontiers of Social Policy >; Delivering Services in Multicultural The increasing cultural diversity of societies throughout the world and the.

This debate highlights a discrepancy between the objective of offering financial service providers legislation to allow them to operate in the same way in all the Member States, through full harmonisation of key legislation and, at the same time, the goal of not reducing levels of consumer protection, leaving space for regional problems and combating the increase in over-indebtedness. A major concern is that, in some contexts, aggressive policies to promote the use of credit via revolving cards could lead to an intolerable increase in indebtedness, including over-indebtedness amongst those who are most economically and culturally fragile and who would be most exposed to the risk of taking on too big commitments too quickly.

The increase in card-based payments undeniably presents a number of policy problems, the most serious of which is the likelihood that the use of cards will contribute to an unjustifiable level of consumer credit and that borrowing on the cards will contribute to an increase in the level of consumer bankruptcy Secondly, preventing and dealing with different forms of overindebtedness represents, in some countries, an important part of the common objective to fight against poverty and social exclusion.

The newest quality frontier: child and youth services

Furthermore, it has included the fight against exclusion within art. Based on this, the Council has invited the Member States to elaborate a common approach by preparing two-year National Action Plans on Social Inclusion In this context it should be pointed out that, amongst initiatives aimed at preventing the risk of exclusion, several national plans have included specific initiatives to confront over-indebtedness and financial exclusion.

In particular, as over-indebtedness has increased it has had unfavourable implications for poverty and exclusion amongst individuals and households for example, they were discouraged from looking for or accepting a job Initiatives taken to combat the rise in over-indebtedness include the promotion of information and the development of educational activities In addition, some countries44 have also adopted measures to improve access to banking services and to provide free financial advice services.

On top of this, the reports presented by United Kingdom45, Netherlands, France, Finland, Belgium and Germany highlight the measures taken to combat financial exclusion, such as easier access to bank accounts, simplified soft See Nice European Council Meeting, December 7th, 8th and 9th , Presidency conclusions, Annex I, European Social Agenda, III Fighting Poverty and all forms of exclusion and discrimination in order to promote social integration.

Some regions Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland have taken specific initiatives. In these cases, financial exclusion is seen as part and parcel of social policies to fight poverty and promote social inclusion. Other initiatives taken to prevent and manage over-indebtedness include services that offer advice and guidance for people with debts46 and legislation on the regulation of debt Financial literacy is increasingly important today for a number of reasons: - - - - - the wide range of financial products and services designed to meet a range of often sophisticated needs that are not easily understandable by the inexperienced user; the increasing complexity of financial products, with a very sophisticated range of options; combined with a time gap between the purchase of a financial product and its use to do what it is supposedly designed to do.

Therefore, it is only at a later stage that it becomes apparent whether the original choice made was appropriate or not; the reduction in public pension provision and the need for the integration of public and private provision or the substitution of the latter for the former. The choices involved are complex ones, in which the risk tends to be transferred from the provider to the worker; the general growth in standards of living and therefore the increasing number of individual investors who have money saved that needs to be invested.

Generally speaking, private sector providers perceive the possibility of imposing a requirement for the provision of services of general interest as a threat, especially if they are to receive no benefits to compensate for the costs of rendering services to unprofitable customer sectors At the same time, the granting of compensation benefits is also perceived as harmful by public authorities because of the risk of introducing bureaucratic mechanisms that compromise market competition.

As far as individual countries are concerned, the obligation of universal service with regard to basic banking services has been discussed and introduced, through different forms and methods, in the UK, in France and in Belgium In other cases, such as Germany and Austria, it has been acknowledged that this function is effectively performed in the market, by The following definition is relevant here.

See OECD At the same time, as already mentioned, competition erodes spaces for monopoly and use of cross-subsidies. In order to understand the approach to the subject of services of general economic interest on a Community level, it is first of all necessary to consider the general framework of the debate over time and how the latter was supported by the discussion concerning the Services Directive proposed in January under Commissioner Bolkestein It also argued that the opening of some of them to the market could have a positive impact in terms of availability, quality and price As regards Communications56, the Commission issued a report to See Report of the European Commission to the Council of Ministers: Services of general economic interest in the banking sector, adopted by the Commission on 17 June and presented to the Ecofin Council on 23 November The proposal in its original form would have lumped together a vast range of services under the same umbrella: from financial services, employment agencies, to water, gas and social, education, health and housing services.

In addition, it expresses a number of concerns related to the fact that application of internal market and competition rules should allow services of general economic interest to perform their task under conditions of legal certainty and economic viability which ensure - inter alia - the principle of equal treatment, quality and continuity of such services as well as the necessity of a regular assessment of the contribution made by services of general economic interest to economic growth and social well-being.

As a consequence, the distinction between the two categories has been a dynamic and evolving one, and in recent decades more and more activities have come to have economic relevance. For an increasing number of services, the distinction has become blurred. As a consequence there has been a reluctance to draw up a definitive list of general interest services regarded as non-economic. Rather, in an attempt to paint a Community-wide picture of services of general interest, the Commission has identified a common set of types of provision that include the concept of universal service These should be provided in a continuous way, meet specific requirements in terms of quality and affordability, in order to be accessible for everybody, and comply with user and consumer protection standards.

The general examples provided include network services energy, transport, telecommunications and, as far as non-economic services are concerned, justice, safety, national education and a compulsory basic social security scheme. It has been developed specifically for some of the network industries i.

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