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Obituary - Roger Hadley

02/12/2001 11:17:04

A life concerned about the powerlessness of the individual in large bureaucracies - ROGER HADLEY.

Roger Hadley, Emeritus Professor of Social Administration at Lancaster University, has died from cancer aged 69. The guiding force throughout his life has been his concern for the powerlessness of the individual in large bureaucracies which found expression in his involvement with co-ownership in industry, and particularly in community orientated and locally managed social services.

The atmosphere of freedom, kindness and humanity of his rural Surrey childhood home and Frensham Heights School contrasted greatly with what Roger was to find when he entered the wider world. He studied at LSE following National Service and during his time the focus of his concern developed from a belief in World Government as the way to world peace to the sharper focus of people's lives in the workplace. He set about this with characteristic energy and enthusiasm and after graduation he worked for two years on factory shop floors in Britain, Canada and America where workers' lack of fulfilment in their jobs and their powerlessness made a big impact on him.

It was his doctoral research which led to an active participation in the common ownership firm Scott Bader Commonwealth which lasted for many years, and he eventually became Personnel and Training Advisor to the firm, writing several pamphlets about industrial democracy.

In 1966 he was appointed to a lectureship at LSE in Richard Titmuss's Social Administration Department where he was first exposed to social service organisation and practice. Ideas of organisation transferred naturally from his continuing work in industrial democracy. After 1974 when he was appointed to the Chair of the newly-founded Department of Social Administration at Lancaster University, he had the opportunity to pursue the idea of the 'Patch' approach to service provision. This was not an armchair idea. He worked with projects in several Social Services Departments including Normanton, East Sussex, Tyneside and Salford and the written accounts based on these experiences strongly emphasised practical ways of implementing these ideas.

During the 1980's Roger co-authored a series of books and monographs which advocated the decentralisation of the local authority personal social services: Going Local: Neighbourhood Social Services (1981); When Social Services are Local (1984); Decentralising Social Services: A Model for Change (1984); A Community Social worker Handbook (1987) and Creating a Responsive Public Service (1990). During this period he also co-authored with Stephen Hatch a wider critique of centralised services, Social Welfare and the Failure of the State (1981). In the 1990's neo-Taylorism brought an end to devolved social services: his riposte can be found in his co-authored Care in Chaos (1996). During his years at Lancaster Roger was a member of the Wolfenden (1974-1977) and the Barclay (1981-2) Committees. After retiring from Lancaster University in 1996, he was made Professor Emeritus there and became an Honorary Professor in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Wales, Bangor where he was also associated wit

h the Centre for Social Policy Research and Development teaching on the Postgraduate gerontology course.

Forthright and outspoken in his views Roger was surprisingly shy about his many other talents. Few colleagues knew that in addition to his achievement at work, he was an accomplished pianist and singer, he painted and sketched, he had a considerable knowledge and appreciation of the cinema and his monochrome photography was of professional standard.

After marrying his second wife, Clare Wenger, in 1986 he made his home in Gwaenysgor, North Wales. Characteristically, he set about learning Welsh and completed a guide to local walks as well as a history, in second draft at the time of his death, of the village, based on information and reminiscences from the villagers themselves. As his mother-in-law commented, it was amazing that this man born and bred in Surrey, could capture the hearts of so many people in Gwaenysgor. For those of us who have known him well this is no surprise, for throughout his life Roger Hadley has always been a gentleman.

He is survived by his wife and the two children of his first marriage, Richard and Anne.

Roger Hadley, social educator, born 24th June 1931; died 9th February 2001.

Alan Cohen