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

The Community Care Grant

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2010 (House of Commons papers, session 2010/11; HC 286)

The Community Care Grant has an important role in helping vulnerable people to establish themselves in the community and in easing pressure on families. The scheme is designed to be flexible so that it can provide help in good time to those who need it but the scheme as currently designed does not deliver value for money. Under the 141 million scheme, vulnerable people can claim for money to pay for essential household items, such as a cooker or bed. Jobcentre Plus employees prioritise each request received, but the agency cannot be sure that those who apply were in most need. Inequities in the budgets set for district offices mean that some high priority claims have been refused because of the limited funds available locally. In addition, the large volume of claims that are never likely to receive funding have to be assessed under the same process, thereby adding considerably to the administrative burden.This report examines whether more value can be achieved from the grant, using the following value for money criteria:

  • The funds are fairly distributed to those most in need.
  • Grants are used for the purpose intended.
  • The lowest prices are paid for goods of the required quality that meet the needs of the individual customer.

Explaining the potential contribution of telecare to the support, protection and quality of life people with differing needs

B. Kerr

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol.4, Sept. 2010, p. 35-39

The National Telecare Development Programme for Scotland was launched in 2006. It has recently published four practice and training guides designed to promote the effective use of telecare for people with physical disability, learning disability, sensory impairment and dementia. This article summarises the background to this initiative and the content of the guides.

The personal gets political

C. Needham and J. Tizard

Public Finance, Aug.13th-Sept.7th 2010, p. 20-21

The coalition government has signalled that it intends to roll out personalisation and personal budgets across the public services. This article considers the track record of personalisation in social care. At presents personal budgets are only available to a few highly motivated social care users. This article identifies the issues that will need to be addressed if personalised commissioning of services is to become meaningful for the majority. These include: getting support planning right; stimulating local provider markets; decommissioning redundant services; workforce issues; dealing with risks of abuse; and redefining the citizen-state relationship.

A study of the Carers Strategy (2000): supporting carers in Wales

S. Seddon and others

British Journal of Social Work, vol.40, 2010, p. 1470-1487

The Carers Strategy Wales aimed to empower carers, mobilise community support for them, and respond to the diversity of care-giving contexts. This paper reports findings from a five year study looking at its implementation and impact. Data were gathered from interviews with carers and staff employed in statutory and voluntary sector organisations. The findings reveal a gap between the positive perceptions of staff concerning improvements in the availability and types of support to carers and carers' everyday experiences. Staff highlighted changes to the carer assessment process that specify carer-defined outcomes must be made explicit as having had a positive impact on the commissioning and delivery of new services. However, only a few carers were in receipt of these services and they reported problems with their organisation and delivery.

Telecare 2025

C. Henderson

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol.4, Sept. 2010, p.47-49

This paper considers where telecare services may be in 15 years time. It considers the role of economic influences, demographic change and the emergence of new technologies in their development. It is concluded that the influences are not entirely predictable because of the possibility of political intervention and future changes in the culture and values of the population.

Volunteer helpers under dire threat

R. Watson

Children and Young People Now, Aug. 24th-30th 2010, p. 10

Small local charities and their volunteers are key to delivering services to support vulnerable families. However, their local authority funding is now being withdrawn due to public spending cuts. There is a danger that the local charities which recruit, train and support volunteers will be wiped out, undermining the coalition government's Big Society vision.

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