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

Caseloads survey

Community Care, Sept. 9th 2010, p. 4-5

A survey of more than 600 social workers has shown that 16% have more than 40 cases on their books and that 90% say that excessive caseloads are adversely affecting their practice. More than four-fifths said that their caseload had increased in the past year. High caseloads are also taking a heavy toll on social workers' health, with many working excessive hours.

Councils battle to fill empty posts

D. Lombard

Community Care, Aug. 26th 2010, p. 28-29

The 2010 Community Care survey of vacancy rates in local authority social services shows that they remain stubbornly high in England at an average of 11.3%, a slight increase on 10.9% in 2009. Vacancy rates have improved in many councils, but deterioration in others has pushed up the overall rate.

NHS reform: should social care be concerned?

J. Smith

Caring Times, Sept 2010, p. 12

This comment piece looks at the implications for social care of the coalition government's radical plans to restructure the NHS set out in the 2010 White Paper.

On the fast track to a new career

K. McGregor

Community Care, Sept. 16th 2010, p. 28-29

The Step Up to Social Work scheme launched in 2009 offers a fast track into the profession for high flying graduates through employment-based training. This article describes West London's eighteen month course which began on September 18th 2010, with training for the 33 successful applicants driven by local councils.

Service user and carer involvement in education for health and social care

M. McKeown, L. Malihi-Shoja and S. Downe

Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010

Service user and carer engagement in health and social care, and in the education of practitioners in this area, is emerging as one of the most important new drivers within government policy in a number of countries. However, beyond the rhetoric, there are few guides that address the practicalities of setting up and running such a project. This book is based on the set up and running of the unique and very successful Comensus (Community Engagement and Service User Support) project , based at the University of Central Lancashire, and will provide a framework for building authentic and sustainable community engagement in health and social care education and practice.

Social care management, strategy and business planning

T. Hafford-Letchfield

London: J. Kingsley, 2010

This is a comprehensive guide to strategic social care management, covering all the knowledge and skills that managers in the 21st century must have, and showing how to make theory a practical reality. The book aims to make business planning a more accessible and user-friendly process, offering practical advice on how to tackle the everyday tasks which good social care management should involve. Topics covered include strategic planning, business development, commissioning and contracting, project management, decision-making, risk, and evaluation techniques. The book also acknowledges the challenges of working collaboratively within a complex legislative and policy framework and juggling different aspects of the management tasks whilst retaining professional identities and ethics.

Spirituality and social work

B. Crisp

Farnham: Ashgate, 2010

Professional social work has often sought to distance itself from its religious origins with the consequence being that the role of spirituality in the lives of service users tended to be sidelined. Yet it is clear that many people begin to explore their spirituality precisely at times when they are trying to make sense of difficult life circumstances or experiences and may come into contact with social workers. In recent years, there has been an increasing understanding that in order to be relevant to the lives of people they work with, social workers need to go beyond their material needs, but there is little understanding of how spirituality can be sensitively incorporated into practice, especially when either practitioners or service users have no religious affiliation or there is no shared religious background. This book offers social workers ideas of beginning conversations in which spiritual values and beliefs may surface, allowing service users to respond from their own framework and to begin to discuss the specific religious or spiritual practices and beliefs which are important to them. It considers spirituality in the context of lived experience, a perspective that breaks down any mystique and suspicion of explicitly religious language by focusing on language and experiences with which most people can identify. Such a framework allows exploration of issues that emerge at different stages in the lifespan, both by persons who are religious and those who do not identify with any formal religion.

Value-based health and social care

J. McCarthy and P. Rose (editors)

London: Sage, 2010

Is evidence-based practice really best practice? This is a hotly debated question in health and social care circles and the starting point for this book. Engaging firmly in the debate, the book calls into question the dominance of evidence-based practice and sets out an alternative vision of care which places holism, professional judgement, intuition and client choice at its centre.

Why higher education must do more with less

M. Ivory

Professional Social Work, Sept. 2010, p.14-15

While facing massive funding cuts, universities in England are also having to submit their social work degree courses to the scrutiny of the General Social Care Council (GSCC). The GSCC has adopted a new get tough policy with higher education institutions, following recommendations from the Social Work Taskforce in December 2009 which called for an overhaul of social work degrees.

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