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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2010): Social care - UK - community care

Paying the piper and calling the tune: power and the direct payment relationship

J. Leece

British Journal of Social Work, vol.40, 2010, p. 188-206

Direct payments are cash payments made by local authorities to disabled adults, who then use them to buy their own care. Many people use their direct payment to become an employer by recruiting a personal assistant, and it is this direct employment relationship, between disabled adults and their employees, that is the focus of this study. This paper reports findings from research on the effect of direct employment on the support relationship, by comparing the experiences of direct payment users and their personal assistants with home care users and their workers. Results show that in the direct employment relationship, power is firmly in the hands of employers. The author suggests that it should be more equally shared with personal assistants.

Who will care? Meeting the care deficit

D. Ben-Galim

Public Policy Research, Sept-Nov. 2009, p. 186-191

There are currently over six million carers in the UK who provide mostly unpaid care to family, friends, children or older people. Innovative policies are needed to support carers, to protect them from poverty, and to meet future demands for care. The author argues that: 1) employees should be entitled to paid leave to care for a dependant; 2) all carers should have the right to request flexible working; and 3) different models of 'life-course caring accounts' should be considered as ways to accrue credits through employment that can be spent when caring responsibilities intensify.

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