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

Adult care joint ventures: some possible futures

T. Freeman and E. Peck

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 16, Apr. 2008, p. 15-20

Following the publication of Commissioning a Patient-Led NHS, health and social care communities are still deciding how to balance contestability and choice with the collaborative patterns of provision consequent on partnership working between health and social care. This article presents four case studies of very different approaches to commissioning and delivery of integrated adult health and social care services.

Drug misuse: a family affair

N. Jacobs

Community Care, Mar. 27th 2008, p. 14-15

The government's new drug strategy for 2008-18 introduces a family-centred approach to tackling substance misuse in communities. There are plans for interventions to help families at risk to stay together and increased financial support for kinship carers of the children of addicts. There is a new focus on 'wraparound' care for drug misusers which would provide support in areas such as housing, education and healthcare. However, there are concerns that imposition of benefits sanctions on addicts who fail to attend treatment may drive them to crime.

Health and social care: establishing a joint future?

A. Petch

Edinburgh: Dunedin, 2008

For the majority of people who have a range of support needs it is immaterial whether the response to their needs is organised by the health sector or the social care sector. Their priority is that there is a response. Yet history has created an organisational split between health and social care services. For many with a range of needs this is likely to create artificial boundaries, barriers and complexities. At the individual level this may lead to fragmentation or duplication of support provision; at the planning level it can result in provision which is less than 'seamless'. Recent years have witnessed accelerating demands from Governments throughout the United Kingdom for closer working between health and social care agencies. Policies have ranged from permissive strategies encouraging consultation and joint planning to legislation requiring the pooling of funds and creating single agency responsibility. Partnership working across health and social care is one of the areas where the most distinctive differences have emerged between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom and this divergence provides the focus for this volume. A specific Scottish Executive initiative, the Joint Future Agenda, has focused on meeting adult support needs through effective joint working. The report of a Ministerial Joint Future Group in 2000, Community Care: A Joint Future has provided the foundation for subsequent community care initiatives. This book explores the detail of this initiative in the context of what is known about the impact and effectiveness of integrated working.

Legislative scrutiny: 1) Health and Social Care Bill and 2) Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill: Government response

Joint Committee on Human Rights

London: TSO, 2008 (House of Commons papers session 2007-08; HC 379)

As part of its programme of scrutiny of bills for significant human rights implications, the Committee reports on (i) the Health and Social Care Bill and (ii) the Government's response to the Committee's Report on the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill. In this Report, the Committee draws attention to three issues in the Health and Social Care Bill which raise significant human rights concerns:

  1. the protection of public health and the use of compulsory powers
  2. the powers of the Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator
  3. the scope of the information sharing powers and duties proposed for the Care Quality Commission ('CQC').

The Committee makes recommendations to improve the safeguards which are proposed to accompany Public Health Orders made on application by local authorities to a Justice of the Peace. These include proposals to amend the Bill to include a presumption that detention, quarantine and isolation are measures of last resort. The Committee considers that the evidence necessary to support Public Health Orders must include objective, medical evidence of the risk to public health. The Committee is concerned that broad information sharing powers and duties proposed for CQC are accompanied by relatively few safeguards for the protection of sensitive personal data which CQC and its staff may handle. The Committee suggests a number of amendments to strengthen these safeguards to protect personal information of both service users and staff. Finally, the Government Response to the Report on the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill is published as an Appendix to this Report.

Pilots on parade

L. Tickle

Community Care, Apr. 10th 2008, p. 26-27

New types of social care workers have been trained to undertake new tasks in 28 Skills for Care funded pilots launched in 2003. The rationale is that since policy now requires increasing involvement of service users in the design and delivery of their care, workers will need new skills and new roles will have to be developed. This article presents case studies of pilot projects in Leeds (combined health and social care delivery), Norfolk (assistive technology support workers) and Taunton (holistic helpers offering complementary therapies to mental health service users).

Separate but equal

A. Williams

Public Finance, Apr. 4th-10th 2008, p. 22-23

Children's social services were separated from adults' following the 2004 Children Act. This article describes the work of the Association of Directors of Adult Services launched in 2007 in seeking to transform the quality of care available to older and disabled people.

Service user and carer involvement: beyond good intentions

M. McPhail (editor)

Edinburgh: Dunedin, 2008

The increasing focus on the involvement of people who use health and social care services and their carers in developing services and in social work education has the potential to bring significant change. This book examines the challenges involved in enabling people who are `experts by experience' to participate in an agenda which is largely dominated by 'top-down' managerial practices. Several themes run through the book. The enactment of power is examined closely, as is the value of maintaining a grassroots approach, driven by the views of those with direct experience of health and social care services. Based on a unique collaboration between academics, carers and care users who have worked together on a project to develop the involvement of service users and carers in social work education, this book identifies practices that go beyond good intentions to bring about significant change. The values and skills for active involvement of carers and service users in the delivery of care services are discussed and contrasted with participation models which merely function as management audit tools or as public relations exercises.

Social work at its best: a statement of social work roles and tasks for the 21st century

General Social Care Council

London: the Council, 2008

This is the first in-depth inquiry into the roles and tasks of social workers in England since the landmark publication of the 1982 Barclay report. The statement defines the profession as being 'committed to enabling every child and adult to fulfill their potential', working in partnership with them 'whenever possible' and embodying values including equality and human rights. It says that employers 'need to identify the situations where a registered, experienced social worker should always be involved'. These include situations where a child or vulnerable adult needs safeguarding from neglect, exploitation or abuse. It says that these roles require several tasks, including acting as a broker to obtain support for people 'through the creative use of all available resources' and 'arranging good-quality alternative care for children whose parents cannot care for them'. Some of these tasks can be shared with or delegated to other social care staff under supervision.

(For comment see Community Care, Apr. 3rd 2008, p. 6-7)

Social education and social pedagogy: reclaiming a Scottish tradition in social work

M. Smith and B. Whyte

European Journal of Social Work, vol.11, 2008, p. 15-28

In many European countries social pedagogy is the main discipline underpinning work with children and youth, but it is not well understood in English speaking countries. However this article explores a link between social pedagogy and the model of social education proposed in the 1964 Kilbrandon report on services for children in Scotland. It considers the Kilbrandon report to be the culmination of persistent strands of a distinct Scottish tradition in relation to social work and welfare. It presents an historical overview of Scottish traditions of social welfare and compares these to ideas contained in models of social pedagogy. These are then contrasted with the dominant Anglo-American paradigm. The current review of social work in Scotland offers an opportunity to reclaim this tradition.

Social work in Wales since democratic devolution

J. Scourfield, S. Holland and C. Young

Australian Social Work, vol. 61, 2008, p. 42-56

This paper attempts to give a balanced picture of the context of social work practice in Wales. There is distinctiveness from England in terms of language and national identities and an increasingly independent social policy agenda. Wales may be seen to be following a more progressive Northern European tradition of emphasizing children's and other citizen's rights and a continuing central role for the public sector. There is, however, considerable continuity between Wales, England and the rest of the UK. Looked at on a global level, the similarities between social work in Wales and England are much greater than that which separates them.

'They don't really have a clue'

M. Hunter

Community Care, Apr. 10th 2008, p. 18-19

There has been a significant expansion of the roles filled by paraprofessionals in the social services. Assistant social workers supporting vulnerable people have been joined by family support workers and learning mentors. There are concerns that these paraprofessionals are increasingly being asked to handle complex cases with which they do not have the skills to cope. Cash-strapped social services departments are looking to unqualified staff to fill in gaps caused by a shortage of professional social workers.

Thinking holistic, thinking integrated?

P. Harrison

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 16, Apr. 2008, p. 40-44

The author reviews a series of five articles on the themes of holistic care and integrated practice for black and minority ethnic clients accessing health and social care services. Themes of racism and cultural incompetence in health and social care services arose from the contributions to the series. Lack of resources and discriminatory practices in service delivery, staff training, and service commissioning thwart delivery of holistic and integrated practice.

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