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

The case for change: why England needs a new care and support system

HM Government

Department of Health, 2008

There will be a 6bn funding shortfall for adult social care services by 2027 if increases in expenditure only keep pace with economic growth and eligibility criteria remain at their present level. By 2027 the number of people over 85 will have doubled and disabled people will be living longer, so that an estimated additional 1.7 million people will require support. In this context the consultation asks:

  • Whether there should be separate funding streams for younger disabled and older people?
  • Whether councils should continue to fund social care, or a national system should be created to ensure consistency of service?
  • What should the balance be between means-tested support for the poorest and having a system which encourages saving?

Choose your partners

S. Erwin-Jones

Community Care, June 5th 2008, p. 26-27

Briefly reports the results of the Shared Services Survey of 178 public sector managers drawn from the UK's health, social care, education and fire services. The majority of organisations confirmed that they were taking part in shared services, and 88% of respondents supported the agenda. The article also provides practical advice on how to make multi-agency partnerships work.

Experiencing social work: learning from service users

M. Doel and L. Best

London: Sage, 2008

The book contains many positive stories of social work practice and the difference it has made to the service users lives. These stories help us to understand good practice and to reflect on the lessons learned. They emphasise social work's potential for positive change, support and social justice. Each chapter is constructed around one or more case examples, emphasising the importance of service users' own knowledge in developing our learning about good practice. Other key features include: a wide range of service user groups, including people with mental health problems, disabilities, parenting difficulties, living in care, those experiencing loss and other life transitions; editorial commentaries that unpack the core themes and issues from each practice example; and a strong grounding in the ethical guidelines and skills-base required of all social work trainees and practitioners.

Farewell National Minimum Standards

J. Smith

Professional Social Work, June 2008, p. 11

The author expresses doubts about the mechanisms proposed for maintaining standards in care homes when the Care Quality Commission (CQC) replaces the Commission for Social Care Inspection as regulator. The level of care required to meet minimum standards has been watered down in the consultation document which considered the rules under which the CQC will operate.

Feeling any safer?

M. Hunter

Community Care, May 15th 2008, p. 28-29

Many social care workers who are required to visit clients alone experience physical and verbal abuse on a daily basis. Some have even been murdered. The article asks whether the new Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 will put pressure on employers to reduce the risks posed to social care staff by violent service users.

Leadership and management in social care

T. Hafford-Letchfield and others

London: Sage, 2008

Government policy, particularly since the modernization of social services, has placed a strong emphasis on developing choice, independence, participation and control for service users in the process of delivering social care services. Strong professional leadership and effective management hold the key to the successful implementation of these objectives. This textbook provides an overview of the leadership and management of learning in social care education and practice. Written in response to recent policy and continuing professional development frameworks, the book provides the underpinning knowledge for candidates following post-qualifying awards for social work in leadership, management and practice education

Multiple perspectives: involving users and carers in educating health and social care professionals

S.M. Benbow, L. Taylor and K. Morgan

Quality in Ageing, vol. 9, June 2008, p. 12-17

This article describes the first steps towards involving users and carers as partners in teaching some sessions of the MSc in Applied Studies in Ageing and Mental Health at Staffordshire University. It explores the impact that this had on students on the course and describes evolving plans to develop the work further.

Scotland's quiet revolution

P. Hagan

Community Care, May 15th 2008, p. 18-19

Since it came to power in 2007, the Scottish National Party has introduced major reforms of the management and funding of social services. Key changes include:

  • A single outcome agreement for each of the 32 local councils
  • Allowing councils to produce a single report on their goals and achievements
  • Requiring councils to achieve annual efficiency savings of 2%, but allowing them to keep the money to invest in other services
  • Reducing funding ring fenced for specific services from 2.7bn in 2007/08 to 300m in 2010/11

The changes have been well-received, but it is too early to assess their full impact.

Strength though unity

J. Glasby and H. Dickinson

Community Care, May 15th 2008, p. 32-33

If health and social care practitioners are to make a positive difference to service users, they must work with other professionals. Partnership working is also likely to occupy an increasing amount of the time of public service managers, and to consume more and more of their budgets. Policy has recognised that partnership working is essential to address the complex problems presented by service users. Frontline practitioners and managers are being asked to work in partnership, but are not given the training and support they need to do so successfully.

Thousands 'are forced to choose between food and home care'

J. Carvel

The Guardian, June 4th 2008, p. 4

A coalition of 18 charities representing disabled people, older people, people with long-term medical conditions and carers has released a report stating that thousands of vulnerable people in Britain are going without food and heating to pay soaring costs of homecare services provided by local authorities. Charges for assistance with dressing, washing and eating have more than trebled since 1997.

Towards a strategy to support volunteering in health and social care: consultation

Department of Health

Leeds: 2008

The impact of volunteering and the contribution it makes need to be recognised by leaders within health and social care organisations. The Department of Health sets out for consultation solutions to perceived obstacles to the creation and implementation of a long-term strategy for the support and development of volunteers in health and social care. It proposes measures in support of individual volunteers, their effective management within organisations, the commissioning environment and infrastructure, partnership working and leadership.

Uncomfortable FACS

J. Smith

Caring Times, June 2008, p. 14-15

Care Services Minister Ivan Lewis has commissioned a review of local authority eligibility criteria from the Commission for Social Care Inspection. He is concerned that: 1) cash-strapped councils are not funding preventative services; 2) eligibility criteria are being interpreted inconsistently by care managers; and 3) some councils are still helping people with moderate needs while others have raised the bar to exclude all except those with critical needs. The author argues that the minister is missing the point, which is that there are insufficient resources for local authorities to supply all the care needed.

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