Vic George obituary

Other lives: Emeritus professor of social policy and social work at Kent University

My friend and former colleague Vic George, who has died aged 87, was emeritus professor of social policy and social work at Kent University. He was a kindly, scholarly man with a talent for unobtrusive mentoring and for ensuring that his colleagues felt valued. He did much to shape the careers of others and contributed greatly to his discipline through teaching, administrative work and his many books.

In particular, Vic led the way in demonstrating that developments in social policy can only be fully understood within their historical, political, economic and ideological contexts. Among his many books was The Impact of Social Policy (1984), which documented the achievements and limitations of welfare reform in postwar Britain. He was general editor of the Routledge series Radical Social Policy, which included his book Socialism, Social Welfare and the Soviet Union (1980), co-authored with Nick Manning.

Vic was born in Cyprus, trained as a teacher there, and taught in various village schools before moving to the UK in 1952. Working first as a childcare officer in London and then as a researcher at the London School of Economics, he began to lay the groundwork for his first book, Social Security: Beveridge and After (1968). In 1964 he moved to a lectureship at Nottingham University, where he gained a doctorate by doing research that also contributed to his book Foster Care: Theory and Practice (1970). Later he co-wrote Motherless Families (1972), the first of many collaborations with Paul Wilding.

His book on poverty and the benefits system, Social Security and Society (1973), highlighted the shortcomings of postwar Labour governments in that field, and in the year of its publication he moved to Kent, where he was the founding professor of social policy and administration and social work. He retired from the university in 1998, but continued to carry out research and to write. His final book, Major Thinkers in Welfare, was published in 2012.

Vic took great pride in the achievements of his wife, Enid (nee Clarke), an occupational therapist, whom he married in 1956, and of his children and grandchildren, all of whom survive him.

He liked gardening and enjoyed watching football either from the stands at Gillingham or, in his later years, on television, particularly any match involving Barcelona.​

Peter Taylor-Gooby

The GuardianTramp

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