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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2009): Social care - UK

Got the election blues?

A. Mickel

Community Care, July 2nd 2009, p. 16-17

The opinion polls suggest that a Conservative government will be elected in 2010. There are fears among social workers that the party will not provide enough cash to sustain current service levels. The Conservatives are also opposed to the ring-fencing of local authority funding, giving councils more scope to move cash away from social care to bolster other services such as education.

A legal tangle?

E. Mitchell

Community Care, July 16th 2009, p. 26-27

Current legislation governing the social care of vulnerable adults dates from a more paternalistic era and clashes with the current personalisation agenda. Until the legislative framework is altered to better fit the ideals of personalisation, local authorities need to find creative ways of working to balance their desire to deliver greater personalisation with their overriding obligation to act in accordance with the law.

The limits on social worker liability

P. Wake

Professional Social Work, July 2009, p. 15

Discusses the high court judgement in the case of TF v London Borough of Lewisham, in which a judge ruled against a claimant who sought damages from the local authority for negligence after suffering sexual abuse while in care as a child. The judge said that, while errors of judgement may have been made, there was no evidence of gross incompetence on the part of social workers. Such evidence would be required for the claim for damages to succeed.

No place to go

S. Gillen

Community Care, July 16th 2009, p. 14-15

Many newly qualified social workers struggle to find a job in the statutory sector. Local authorities turn down their applications because they have gained no practical experience of statutory social work during their training. Many practice placements arranged by universities are with voluntary organisations and are unsuitable.

The outsourcing of social care in Britain: what does it mean for voluntary sector workers?

I. Cunningham and P. James

Work, Employment and Society, vol. 23, 2009, p. 363-375

The outsourcing of public social care services to voluntary organisations has intensified under the post-1997 Labour governments. This encouragement of outsourcing has occurred, however, against the background of attempts by government to put in place a regulatory framework intended to support a social care market place marked by longer term partnership contracting which provides a greater degree of financial stability and security to voluntary organisations engaged in public service delivery. This article explores empirically how far these mechanisms have achieved their aims and thereby acted to protect the employment conditions of staff. It concludes that these efforts have been relatively unsuccessful in bringing income security to the voluntary sector and stability to employment terms and conditions.

Practising social work in a complex world. 2nd ed.

R. Adams, L. Dominelli and M. Payne (editors)

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009

The book provides an authoritative introduction to practising social work in situations characterised not only by risk and change but also by high pressure to deliver successful outcomes. The book is geared to the needs of students in the final stages of their qualifying course, professionals returning to study, or those simply wishing to deepen their professional understanding. It is distinguished by:

  • Its coherent coverage of practice situations involving complexity, tension and uncertainty
  • Its focus on how social work can contribute by integrating the perspectives of service users, carers, other professionals and the wider agency context
  • Its discussion of a range of management skills, which are presented as versatile tools for all practitioners
  • Its extended exploration of social work research, as an important but widely debated professional resource.

Taking the heat off new social workers

L. Hunt

Community Care, July 16th 2009, p. 16-17

The newly qualified social worker pilot programme was launched in September 2008 promising on-the-job support for social work graduates entering children's services. In May 2009, the scheme was approved by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and it will now be extended to all children's social workers in their first year of practice.

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