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

Adult care joint ventures: the art of the possible

T. Freeman and E. Peck

Journal of Integrated Care, Feb. 2008, p. 10-17

This paper argues that current policies on adult care services are in tension with each other. For example, the requirement for contestability in service provision, and robust commissioning and procurement (which implies increased plurality of provision) sits in tension with pressures for service integration and partnership working across health and social care. In addition, service options must be shown to be financially viable and national policies must be adapted to fit local circumstances and meet local needs.

The Blackwell companion to social work. 3rd ed.

M. Davies (editor)

Oxford: Blackwell, 2008

The book offers a comprehensive introduction to social work theory and practice, with contributions from leading experts. The third edition provides updated material and includes new sections on the misuse of drugs and alcohol, population movement and immigration, assessment, intervention and review. The book also covers the reasons for social work, the application of knowledge to practice, the practice context, and its psychosocial framework and gives detailed coverage of the perspectives of service users, carers and the Disabled People's Movement. The book brings together material on children and families side-by-side with detailed accounts of work with adult service users. Each chapter lists five key points, three questions for discussion and three recommendations for further reading.

Can we be of service?

J. Hanlon

Community Care, Mar. 20th 2008, p. 28-29

The experience of trainee social workers is changing as more service users and carers become involved in teaching and assessing students. Service users and carers are becoming involved in all aspects of designing and delivering the social work degree.

Committed to quality care?

J. Smith

Caring Times, Mar. 2008, p. 10

The Commission for Social Care Inspection, the Healthcare Commission and the Mental Health Act Commission are to be merged in 2009 to form a new super-regulator, the Care Quality Commission. There are concerns about the financial costs of the merger, and about a loss of focus on the regulation of social care. It is feared that the new body will concentrate on inspecting more high profile health services and will lack understanding of the needs of small care homes run by independent providers.

How do they do that?

M. Hunter

Community Care, Mar. 6th 2008, p. 28-29

Around 73% of councils are expected to limit provision of services to people whose needs are judged to be substantial or critical under Fair Access to Care criteria. Those with low or moderate needs may receive no help at all. This article describes how Sunderland, despite the lowest council tax rate in the Northeast and an ageing population, is offering services to people with low or moderate needs.

Keeping a head above water

L. Revans

Community Care, Feb 28th 2008, p. 14-15

There are moves to introduce a probationary year for newly qualified social workers similar to that used for newly qualified teachers. This development could raise standards across the profession, forcing poor practitioners out and fostering a culture of continuing professional development.

A lean and mean budget…

N. Jacobs

Community Care, Mar. 13th 2008, p. 16

Faced with the worst local government settlement for ten years, Welsh councils will struggle to maintain their current range of social care services. The average rise in the Revenue Support Grant in the 2008 Welsh Assembly government settlement will be 2.5%. The Welsh Local Government Association estimates that an increase of at least 3% is needed to maintain services.

Making informed choices in social care: the importance of accessible information

K. Baxter, C. Glendinning and S. Clarke

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 18, 2008, p. 197-207

The New Labour government of the UK is promoting greater user choice and involvement in decision making in adult social services. To make informed choices, people need information. This paper presents the findings of a scoping review about government-related activity to investigate or improve the accessibility of information about adult social care services. The findings of the review have been summarised to show the types of access issues that need to be addressed; how these are currently being addressed; and where there are gaps in government activity. The findings show that there is no government-related or other research evidence about the specific information access needs of some user groups, such as people from ethnic minorities. For other groups, such as people with chaotic lifestyles, there is evidence on information needs but no current or planned development projects to meet those needs.

POVA, the Wright decision and beyond

L. Reed

Caring Times, Mar. 2008, p. 14-15

The Court of Appeal has recently handed down an important decision in relation to the administration of the system for provisionally placing care workers on the POVA (Protection of Vulnerable Adults) list. Even provisional inclusion on the POVA list bars care workers from working with vulnerable adults. The Court of Appeal judgement means that care workers referred to the Secretary of State for consideration for inclusion on the POVA list must be given the opportunity to give their side of the story and make representations as to why they should not be placed on the provisional list, prior to the listing being made.

Single shared assessment: the limits to 'quick fix' implementation

A. Eccles

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 16, Feb. 2008, p. 22-30

This paper explores an aspect of the recent policy shift towards more integrated working in public services in the UK. It focuses on joint working between health and social care, and in particular on the use of a single shared assessment tool by these agencies. After outlining the policy context, the article examines the early operation of the tool in a large urban authority in Scotland. It suggests that there was a lack of engagement with issues such as working cultures and equity of workloads in the implementation process, while some of the main expected benefits, such as overcoming duplication of effort, have failed to materialise for staff.

The state of the adult social care workforce in England 2008

Skills for Care


This study reports that there are currently about 1.39 million jobs in the adult social care sector, and predicts that this number needs to rise by nearly 80% by 2025 in order to cope with increased demand and greater personalisation of care. Under a 'maximising choice' scenario where all service users who wanted direct payments received them, and others received highly personalised care, it is predicted that the size of the workforce would rise from 1.39m to over 2.5m. This would include a nine-fold increase in the number of personal assistants employed by direct payments users.

Things must only get better

M. Preston-Shoot

Professional Social Work, Mar. 2008, p. 14-15

An appraisal of judicial reviews, Ombudsman reports and research evidence reveals an apparent disjunction between codified social work professional ethics and ethics in practice, and between law in statute and law in action. Councils with social services responsibilities have failed to follow statutory guidance, and practitioners and managers have colluded in departing from best practice. The author calls for a major investment in social work knowledge and a renewed commitment to social work ethics.

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