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

Adult care reform could cut red tape for social workers

V. Pitt

Community Care, July 8th 2010, p. 9

The Law Commission reports strong backing from consultation respondents for its proposals to introduce a single assessment framework in adult social care. Other plans that received universal support included:

  1. a duty for councils and other agencies in social care to co-operate
  2. a legal framework to enable users to move between areas and retain access to services
  3. powers for councils to assess children over 16 for adult services to smooth the transition.

Adults' services face jobs cull as cuts bite

J. Dunning

Community Care, July 8th 2010, p. 6-7

It is predicted that adult social care departments will have to slash jobs and increase user charges as their funding is cut by up to one third between 2011 and 2015. The article also presents a snapshot of where cuts are already falling.

The 'good' carer: moral practices in late modernity

S. Pickard

Sociology, vol.44, 2010, p. 471-487

Informal carers in the context of late modernity must negotiate two potentially conflicting discourses. The first is a discourse of individualisation, concerned with personal fulfilment and self-actualisation. In policy terms, this presents itself as a rhetoric emphasising choice and individual control over personal decisions. The other is a more traditional discourse found particularly in current health and social policy which emphasises the responsibility of family carers to look after their kin. This article analyses the tensions arising from this paradox, specifically for older carers engaged in long term care relationships.

'It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, except for Lola': transforming health and social care for trans people

J. Fish

Diversity in Health and Social Care, vol.7, 2010, p. 87-89

The health and social care needs of transvestite, transsexual and transgender people are poorly understood and they encounter prejudice and discrimination. In order to transform public services for trans people, myths about them need to be dispelled through information, training and support. It is also important to know what constitutes good quality health and social care.

Need, risk and protection in social work practice

S. Hothersall and M. Maas-Lowit (editors)

Exeter: Learning Matters, 2010

This book provides a detailed and comprehensive guide to working with risk. It begins by looking at notions of need, vulnerability and protection and how psychological, sociological and social policy perspectives are crucial to greater understanding. Next it focuses on practice, including legal issues. Policy contexts and a debate around the ethical dilemmas faced by practitioners. There are chapters on working in different areas of practice including older people, children and families, drug and substance abuse and mental health.

Personalisation special issue

N. Johnson (guest editor)

Journal of Care Services Management, vol.4, 2010, p. 197-258

Personalisation of social care services should lead to increased choice, independence and control for all adult social care service users. There are also important supporting policy lines relating to dignity, especially for older service users, and thrusts for particular groups in strategic plans relating to autism and dementia. This special issue presents views on the personalisation agenda from policy makers, commissioning leaders, service designers, home and residential care providers, service users, carers and academics.

Professional decision making in social work practice

B. Taylor

Exeter: Learning Matters, 2010

Many social workers face daily pressure to make sound decisions in very difficult circumstances, occasionally having to manage impossible expectations. Politicians and the media may spotlight care decisions where a tragedy or complaint occurs. In this complex arena of conflicting demands and considerations from the public, the client, the family and the organisation, the professional needs a robust and yet flexible framework to inform practice decisions. This book gives an overview of concepts of decision making and has chapters on making collaborative decisions, dynamic decision making and the organizational aspects of decision management.

Professional discretion in welfare services: beyond street-level bureaucracy

T. Evans

Farnham: Ashgate, 2010

Discretion has re-emerged as an issue of central importance for welfare professionals over the last two decades in the face of an intensification of management culture across the public sector. It is an issue that encapsulates the tension between increased regulation and the need for initiative and creativity by practitioners in policy implementation. This book presents an innovative framework for the analysis of discretion, offering three accounts of managerialism: the domination model, the street level model and the author's alternative discursive perspective. These different regimes of discretion are examined through a case study within a social services department, comparing and contrasting social work discretion in an Older Persons Team and a Mental Health Team.

Safeguarding and personalisation

B. Schwehr

Journal of Adult Protection, vol.12, May 2010, p. 43-51

This article examines the current legal framework for safeguarding vulnerable adults in the context of the Putting People First agenda in order to explore the risks of abuse in a new era of arms-length care management and the employment of non-regulated workers. It examines how these risks may be adequately managed through attention to the requirements of the current legal framework, provided that this is pervaded by the principles and fall-back remedies offered by the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Tale of two partnerships

G. Carson

Community Care, June 17th 2010, p. 22-23

In Scotland, the 2003 Partnerships for Care white paper said that NHS boards should set up community health partnerships in localities to manage primary care while also working closely with councils to integrate services. In Glasgow and East Renfrewshire partners went further by bringing social work within the same organisation as health, creating community health and care partnerships. This article contrasts the Glasgow partnerships, which seem to have been derailed by a financial dispute, with those in East Renfrewshire, which are flourishing.

When ethics collide with work

J. Cooper, M. Garboden and C. Pemberton

Community Care, July 8th 2010, p. 14-15

It is claimed that social workers employed by local authorities cannot practice ethically due to inadequate supervision, chaotic departments and lack of resources. In this article, experts debate suggestions for solutions that could improve the lot of field social workers, such as a national hotline for whistleblowers, greater independence for social work teams, legal sanctions on councils for various forms of staff abuse, etc.

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