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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2008): Social care - UK - community care

Achieving efficiencies in care and support services

T. Wood

Housing, Care and Support, vol. 10, Dec. 2007, p. 12-16

Providers of supported housing are coming under increasing pressure from government and local authorities to increase their efficiency and offer better value for money. This article introduces a toolkit which has been produced by Tribal Consulting to aid such organisations in finding efficiency savings. It sets out the background to the toolkit's development and the areas it covers.

A Report on In Control's second phase: evaluation and learning 2005-2007

C. Hatton and others

London: In-Control Publications, 2008

The report finds that only about 3,500 people out of more than one million adult care users are getting self-directed support from the 100 English councils involved in the scheme. A survey of 196 users over 17 councils found that almost everyone felt that they had control over how their personal budget was spent. Almost half reported improvements in general health and well-being, with a similar number reporting no change, and just 5% saying that their general health had worsened. Most also reported improvements in time spent with people they liked, quality of life, and community involvement. However the report points out that, although these results are encouraging, self-directed support is in its infancy in England, with most participants in the research having used the model for less than six months. There are big variations in numbers using self-directed support across local authorities.

(For comment see Community Care, Mar. 13th 2008, p. 10-11)

Self-directed support: watching out for the pitfalls

R. Jones

Journal of Integrated Care, vol.16, Feb. 2008, p. 44-47

The upcoming Green Paper on adult social care in England is likely to promote heavily the agenda of increased personalisation of services for disabled and older people. This article considers potential unintended consequences that could arise when service users are made responsible for the shaping of assistance to meet their needs. For service users, self-directed support could be inadequately funded and/or employed as a means of cutting costs. It could also lead to a loss of professional input and advice.

Walking the tightrope: the balance between duty of care, human rights and capacity

S. Baxter and H. Carr

Housing, Care and Support, vol. 10, Dec. 2007, p. 6-11

Providers of housing support and care work within a complex legal framework that was not designed with supported housing provision in mind. In providing services to vulnerable adults, staff should be aware of the tensions between their duty to protect clients from harm, their obligation to protect human rights, and the requirement under the Mental Capacity Act to promote service users' autonomy.

Why we care far too much

I. Cash

Professional Social Work, Mar. 2008, p. 20-21

The author presents a personal account of the barriers which he, as a family carer for his ex-wife and son over 28 years, faced in attempting to return to paid work. These barriers included hostility from social workers who thought that his return to paid employment would cost the council more money in care services, and discrimination from employers who feared poor attendance problems. A new approach is required if the needs of carers are to be met.

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