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

Anticipating and capitalising on change: the general election and health and social care partnerships

R. Jones

Journal of Integrated Care, vol.18, Feb. 2010, p. 20-26

It can be assumed that the 2010 UK general election will lead to policy change, whichever party wins power. Cutbacks in public expenditure are expected, accompanied by organisational change in the search for efficiency gains. These anticipated changes are both an opportunity and a threat to joint working across health and social care. They pose threats to coterminosity of health and social care services and management continuity and may lead to cost shunting. However, post-election changes may also offer opportunities for health and social care provider partnerships, public health leadership by councils, and use of local council areas as building blocks for the commissioning of services.

'Be your own boss' offer gets cool reception from social work industry

K. McGregor

Community Care, Mar. 4th 2010, p. 12

Conservative proposals to allow public sector workers to form co-operatives to deliver services under contract have received a mixed reception from social workers. Unions are concerned that the policy could lead to privatisation by the back door, while legal experts and sector leaders say that the model raises fundamental issues about accountability and financial responsibility when applied to social care.

Crossover appeal

K. McGregor

Community Care, Feb. 18th 2010, p. 16-17

Many private sector employees are opting to retrain and work in the caring professions due to the 2008/09 recession. This article presents five case studies of individuals who chose to move from the private sector into social work, including two who are having second thoughts following negative experiences in placements.

Disentangling the impact of multiple innovations to reduce delayed hospital discharges

A. Manzano-Santaella

Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, vol. 15, 2010, p. 41-46

The Community Care (Delayed Discharges, etc) Act 2003 introduced, among other initiatives, fines for local authority social services departments unable to accept patients from hospitals within set timescales. Delayed hospital discharges in England fell rapidly after the Act came into force. However, the Act introduced a number of other innovations besides fines. This study uses a realist framework to unravel the inner workings of the programme as a whole and to identify the explicit impact of fines on delayed hospital discharge.

Hobson's Choice?

S. Rogowski

Professional Social Work, Mar. 2010, p. 24-25

The author considers the main political parties' social policies and attitudes to social work in the light of the upcoming 2010 general election. All parties agree that neo-liberalism (or global capitalism) is the way forward. The Conservatives are said to view society as broken and to believe that little can be done to fix it. They will therefore not regard tackling social problems as a priority. The Labour Party also promotes individualism and self-responsibility alongside the erosion of collective provision. The Liberal Democrats have little to say about social work and social care.

Integrated commissioning: new contexts, new dilemmas, new solutions?

B. Hudson

Journal of Integrated Care, Vol.18, Feb. 2010, p. 11-19

Ideas about joint commissioning between the NHS and social care have their roots as far back as the 1970s. Achievements have generally not been spectacular, but the issue is now firmly back on the policy stage and has been rebranded as 'integrated commissioning'. This implies a shift from ad hoc and opportunistic partnering to more systemic and long term arrangements. However, the policy context is complex and, at times, contradictory, and the scale of ambition is hugely heightened.

Integrating care in Norfolk: progress of a national pilot

H. Tucker

Journal of Integrated Care, vol.18, Feb. 2010, p.31-37

As one of the 16 pilots in the Department of Health Integrated Care Organisation (ICO) programme, Norfolk is exploring ways of integrating primary, community and social care services in six localities. Progress in the first few months is assessed in this article within the framework of the six laws of integration developed by Leutz.

Joint financing across health and social care: money matters, but outcomes matter more

C. Goldman

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 18 Feb. 2010, p. 3-10

Joint working between councils and NHS bodies has been in evidence for many years. However, there is now increasing emphasis on the contribution that joint processes can make to improved outcomes, system transformation and system change. This article examines the experiences of councils and their NHS partners in implementing joint financing arrangements, the extent to which they have succeeded in improving value for money and the service user experience, and the challenges they face in progressing further.

Key concepts in anti-discriminatory social work

T. Okitikpi and C. Aymer

London: Sage, 2010

The book provides an introduction to anti-discriminatory social work, placing this concept within the context of theory, methods, policy, legislation and skills. It clearly and concisely explains the basic ideas in the field. It:

  • Explores the range of discriminations that people experience and discusses a number of theories that inform anti-discriminatory practice
  • Considers the legal frameworks within which anti-discriminatory practice operates
  • Analyses the skills and knowledge required to practice effectively
  • Highlights the dynamic nature of anti-discriminatory practice and points the way towards a new practice dimension
  • Provides an essential reference guide for all social work students and practitioners, as well as those taking courses in teacher training, youth and community work, nursing, midwifery and mental health studies for whom anti-discriminatory practice is an important element in their training.

Parliament may delay new care legislation

P. Grose

Caring Times, Mar. 2010, p. 14

In December 2009 the Care Quality Commission (CQC) issued its new Guidance about Compliance: Summary of Regulations, Outcomes and Judgement Framework for NHS and private care providers. The Guidance contains the CQC's opinion as to what all providers will have to do to comply with new regulations before Parliament. However, Parliament has held up the passage of these Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations because it is unhappy about their content.

The personalisation equation

M. Samuel and J. Dunning

Community Care, Feb. 18th 2010, p. 28-29

Councils in England have two over-riding imperatives in adult social care - personalising services around users' needs in line with government policy and reducing costs if the face of financial constraints and significant demographic pressures. A debate is raging over whether these two goals are compatible or contradictory, particularly over whether personal budgets and direct payments are more or less costly than conventional social care support.

Social work and social policy: an introduction

J. Dickens

London: Routledge, 2010

An knowledge of social policy is vital for engaging practically with social work values, dealing with political and ethical questions about responsibility and rights and our understanding of 'the good society'. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to social policy, tailored to the needs of a social work audience. It analyses current policies and policy themes relevant to social work, and locates them in the context of fundamental social policy principles and debates. Essential themes covered include:

  • service user participation and involvement
  • the balance between individual, societal and state responsibility for people's wellbeing
  • the proper roles of the state, the private sector, voluntary organisations and the family
  • the relationships between needs, rights and choices
  • the purposes and challenges of professional social work
  • the meanings of 'inclusion' and 'personalisation'.

Each chapter ends with activities for reflection and analysis, and suggestions for further reading.

Stronger voice helps in Wales

R. Davis

Community Care, Feb. 25th 2010, p. 36-37

In 2005 the Garthwaite report highlighted the difficulties facing Welsh social services departments with low morale, poor retention rates and prolific use of agency staff. Since then, there have been dramatic improvements in staff retention, and provision of practice placements for student social workers and post-qualification training and career development opportunities.

Thresholds in adult protection

M. Collins

Journal of Adult Protection, vol. 12, Feb. 2010, p. 4-12

In adult protection, many of the concerns which are highlighted about possible abuse relate to non-criminal situations in which neglect may have occurred. Designated lead managers, often social services team managers, act as gatekeepers. In conjunction with police, health and inspectorate colleagues, they have to decide if allegations should be dealt with as possible abuse or as poor practice, triggering different mechanisms. A tool has been developed in Wales to promote and support consistency in decision-making in 'grey areas'. The Welsh Assembly government has also published helpful guidance on the management of escalating concerns in care homes.

Toothless tiger

V. Pitt

Community Care, Feb. 18th 2010, p. 24-25

Safeguarding adults boards, which exist in most areas of England, are designed to provide multiagency leadership, develop policies and hold member agencies to account on the protection of vulnerable adults, including by reviewing serious cases. However, experts warn that they vary too much in their funding, membership and ability to co-ordinate agencies' work to keep adults safe.

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