Public thinking and opinion are the contents of the crucible from which the social fabric of a community, town, region, nation and international community are borne. The very nature of this arena (social consciousness), is an on-going evolutionary process which is reflective of the era one chooses to examine. Within the European Union legislation in varied areas has been enacted to improve the overall quality of services delivered to the public at large as well as for the benefit of workers. And while the United Kingdom is not a member of this body, the reforms, legislation and policies enacted become known and thus places the government under social pressure to enact changes in response to the overall public welfare.
The progressive foundation of the United Kingdom’s social policies provides a climate whereby the public expects that government stay abreast of new socially oriented developments as they develop and with such progress comes cost. The cost of enacting and overseeing same is borne by either the government, which translates is its people, and or by business.
Sometimes referred to as the “welfare state” the United Kingdom has demonstrated historically demonstrated sensitivity to social issues and reform and this underlying foundation is comprised of three key elements which Guarantees a set of minimum standards which includes a minimum income.
Provides for social protection
And that services will be carried out in the best possible manner.
The social welfare consciousness in the United Kingdom is extensive in terms of its embracing a broad spectrum of initiatives, thus private enterprises are bound by regulations and laws in keeping with this responsibility as established by the public trust. Those organizations that engage in extensive contact or service to the public and are particularly scrutinized and susceptible to implementation of both required (meaning legalized or regulated social policy mandates) and generally accepted norms of behaviour as well as conduct, and rightly so.
Such public mandates carry with them implementation as well as ongoing maintenance costs which can manifest themselves in wage, compliance, training as well as standards in delivering and providing services. Such is the cost to the government, its populace and businesses to live in an environment which is in keeping with and reflects our modern society. These standards are particularly important when industry directly services the public as the impact of said services is immediate and on a mass scale.
Given the relatively high content of labour intensity in the hospitality and catering industries, regulated or legislated changes can result in additional costs and thus reduce productivity as a result. New legislation which has been enacted for the hospitality and catering sector as “…essential regulatory guidance…” with such having an effect that it encompasses “some 1,500 pages ” of information. The sheer volume of this data can be overwhelming to an industry sector which is primarily composed (80%) of small sized firms (SME’s) employing 10 or fewer people.
The new legislation sets standards in wages, the workplace, food preparation mandates, equipment and facility requirements which are in the public’s interest as well as its employees which is the social responsibility of both the government and the industry sector (hospitality and catering), with the cost in time, expense, upgrades, modifications and compliance resulting in net expenditures that affect bottom line performance.
Chapter 1 – Introduction
Historical Social Climate
The centralized governmental structure that is utilized in the United Kingdom nationalizes a social implementation process that can be traced back to the “Poor Laws”. These reforms, the first of which was enacted in 1598 and which drew to an end in 1958, started with;
1. the establishment of a poor rate foundation (meaning the level which established this as a social phenomenon),
2. utilization of ‘overseers’ to administer relief,
3. and provisions designed to put the poor to work
The ‘Poor Laws’ were replaced by the passage of the：
1. 1946 National Insurance Act, which ushered in the foundations for social security
2. 1946 National Health Service Act
3. 1948 National Assistance Act that eliminated the ‘Poor Law’
4. and the 1948 Children Act
The preceding developments effectively placed the country’s social policy on the path that defines its present day terms. The manner in which social policy is viewed in Europe, and its influence on the United Kingdom is an important variable in understanding why consistent changes and modifications to existing regulations, legislation and laws is necessary to keep pace with progressive developments that are in the interest of all concerned (government, citizens and the business community).
This mood and historical climate help to shape the psychological parameters that act upon this area. Anderson (1983) has postulated that the “social bond of deep horizontal comradeship” is a key foundational element in nationalism and the corresponding socio-psychological ideology. Connor (1993) adds that “the idea of nation” is an emotional process and in global terms it forms an aspect of an individual’s identity.
The devastation in Europe that was a result of World War II created the social climate for “welfares” which was adopted as foundation for social policy in many European countries, including the United Kingdom. The mass scale of fragmentation as a result of refugees, displaced persons, the destruction of towns - cities and the breach of national security created what leaders termed a lack of “social cohesion” which needed to be reinforced to provide the populace with the belief that circumstances would indeed improve as a result of policies and programs being put into place.
To make this work, leaders believed that the establishment of a base level of political and economic provisions for citizens would provide assurances of the foregoing. In order to implement such policies they had to be introduced on a national level through institutions and agencies that needed to be created to administer a uniform code of social and financial services. The preceding was a major factor in why social policy in Europe is more liberalized and generous than in the United States.
World War II also resulted in an elimination and or erosion of historical European monarchies and the formation of constitutional frameworks reflective of20th century thinking. The foregoing historical, political, economic and social variables are the key components blended into the European term which is the called ‘the welfare state’. The British Labour Party platform after winning the election in 1945 stated “Jobs for all” along with “Social insurance against the rainy day…” and included plans to attain said goals. The victory by the Labour Party was unforeseen and helped to establish a tone not only in Great Britain, but the rest of Europe as the public’s vote heralded the beginnings of heightened social consciousness.
Sector Ramifications – Hospitality and Catering
The preceding understanding of the United Kingdom’s social fabric is important in equating the recent legislation affecting the hospitality and catering sector. Both sectors are highly dependent on labor and as a result any new regulations or legislation have a deeper impact due to the labour dependant composition that characterizes its makeup. Said changes must not only be communicated, but overseen as well and these changes cannot be simply written into a software program or changes in assembly line methods, they are by and large done by individuals.
Additionally the general low wage composition of this sector for a good percentage of its employees means that additional compliance slows productivity as it is primarily manual in nature. The new legislation is estimated to affect and estimated 81% of the business in this sector
Economically the increase of compliance and legislative changes in the service sector as a factor of a country’s GDP decreases the economic growth rate with a corresponding decline in productivity rates due tithe costs involved. The hospitality and catering sectors are within the broader classification termed ‘Travel and Tourism’ and this industry is projected to become the largest classification globally during 2005.
As such the major issue facing the hospitality and catering sector is increasing productivity so that it will affect the profitability of operations. With this industry sector (hospitality and catering)representing an estimated 1 out of 12.4 jobs throughout all industry classifications the implications of increased productivity represents sizeable gain in economic strength and the corresponding effect upend (Gross Domestic Product).
The composition of the companies within this industry (hospitality and catering) forms a critical component in equating the influence of social responsibility and the resultant impact on productivity as a result of expenditures to comply. It is important to understand that fully 94% of the 2.7 SME’s within the travel and tourism sector are comprised of what is termed “micro-enterprises” that employ less than ten (10) individuals, and 94% of this total represents approximately fifty present (50%) of the labour force.
The newly enacted legislation encompasses social responsibility in that it seeks to standardize not only the delivery of services within this sector, it also benefits the individuals employed therein as well. An examination of the varied factors comprising productivity in the hospitality and catering sector to correlate the effect of social responsibilities requires an understanding of the structural as well as staffing variables within each sector along with any new regulations, laws and or legislation which might act upon bottom line performance.