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

Bloody-minded determination

A. Mickel

Community Care, July 30th 2009, p. 16-18

A survey of nearly 1400 statutory and voluntary sector social workers shows that most are unhappy with their pay and conditions. Only 22% of respondents considered their promotion prospects to be excellent or good with their employers. Satisfaction levels rose to 26% for the state of their caseloads, 44% for the quality of supervision and 45% for decision support. The average respondent had worked 18 years in social services but earned only 32,110pa. However, nearly 75% of respondents were either fairly or very satisfied with their jobs, a number that rose to 82% in the voluntary sector in spite of longer hours and lower earnings.

Campaigners bemoan government inertia over safeguarding pledge

M. Ahmed

Community Care, July 23rd 2009, p. 5

Following a consultation on reviewing adult protection guidance issued in 2000, the government has failed to commit itself to introducing legislation on safeguarding. Campaigners are disappointed at the Department of Health's failure to take action, as they have long called for legislation to put adult protection on a par with the system for children.

Challenging provider performance: developing policy to improve the quality of care to protect vulnerable adults

A. Giordano and D. Street

Journal of Adult Protection, vol. 11, May 2009, p. 5-12

Working with others, including providers of care, in order to prevent abuse and neglect and to ensure quality care is provided to vulnerable adults is of paramount importance to Caerphilly County Borough Council. A new provider performance monitoring process was designed and was adopted by Caerphilly Area Adult Protection Committee following a pilot. The process covers providers of registered residential/nursing and domiciliary care services, both internally provided and externally commissioned. The process aims to assist statutory agencies to share information at a monthly quality assurance meeting to identify concerns about care providers and to take steps to monitor levels of risk. The process also provides a framework for agencies to respond to significant issues and concerns through the provider performance meetings held in relation to particular services.

Congested quango landscape fuels shake-up talk

D. Lombard

Community Care, Aug. 6th 2009, p. 8-9

Over the past 10 years, the UK government has spread responsibility for raising professional social work standards across four bodies: the regulator, the General Social Care Council; two workforce development bodies, Skills for Care and the Children's Workforce Development Council; and an organisation to spread best practice, the Social Care Institute for Excellence. However reports from the Social Work Task Force and the Commons Children, Families and Schools Select Committee have questioned whether the existing structure is fit for purpose. Both reports recommend the creation of new institutions, the Task Force backing a national college for social work and the MPs supporting a social work development agency.

GSCC's role and function to be reviewed

D. Lombard

Community Care, July 30th 2009, p. 7

Following the discovery of a backlog of 203 unassessed conduct referrals, the chief executive of the General Social Care Council, Mike Wardle, has been suspended. The Council now faces an urgent review of its performance and governance in order to restore public confidence.

Inadequate, often incomprehensible and outdated: reviewing adult social care law

D. Hewitt

Journal of Integrated Care, vol.17, June 2009, p. 16-22

This article reviews a recent Law Commission paper which claims that the law on adult social care is complex, inconsistent and based on outdated concepts. It summarises and comments on the Commission's proposals for the integration of health and social care. Existing duties could be consolidated, and health and social care bodies could be placed under a general duty to cooperate.

Keeping it personal: supporting people with complex and multiple needs

M. Henwood and B. Hudson

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 17, June 2009, p. 8-15

As the social care system moves increasingly towards a model of personalised support, questions arise about whether and how it can work for people with multiple and complex needs. This article draws on findings of a study undertaken for the Commission for Social Care Inspection which explores some of the difficulties of personalising support for people with multiple and complex needs, and showcases some innovative developments which have transformed the lives of these people and their carers.

Not just the Mental Capacity Act: using the law to protect vulnerable adults

D. Hewitt

Journal of Adult Protection, vol. 11, May 2009, p. 25-31

Vulnerable adults have recently gained greater protection through the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. However many significant provisions can be found in other legislation, including the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (protection against sexual abuse), the Care Standards Act 2000 (protection against abuse in care homes), and the National Assistance Act 1948 (protection against self-neglect) and in the activities of the High Court.

Training of children and families social workers

Children, Schools and Families Committee

London: TSO, 2009 (House of Commons papers, session 2008/09; HC527)

In 2003 the qualification route for social workers changed from a diploma to a Bachelor's or Master's degree. After qualification, a variety of different courses and qualifications are available for social workers to develop their skills. Unfortunately many employers of social workers are dissatisfied with the degree programmes, and some view the generic nature of courses as obstructive to imparting the specialist skills and knowledge required for child protection work. Universities emphasise the value of generic training for dealing with families in the round, and say that employers expect too much from newly qualified social workers. Universities and employers need to agree a common core curriculum for the social work degree so that there is clarity about what can be expected of graduates. Placements in statutory agencies should be made a compulsory condition of achieving the social work degree. Post-qualification training should be reformed to become a compulsory means of developing social workers from newly qualified to expert practitioner status.

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