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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2011): Social care - UK

The adult social care market and the quality of services: technical report

Care Quality Commission


The national analysis of the adult social care market examines capacity, quality and commissioning and has been developed using technical data and discussions with leaders of the sector. The report states that in 2010, 83% of care homes, homecare services, nursing agencies and shared lives schemes were rated good or excellent compared to 69% in 2008. While overall the number of services had increased, residential care home numbers fell and nursing homes and homecare services rose. Demographic forces mean that a further increase in the number of services will be required if future demand is to be met. The challenge is for providers and commissioners to work together to further develop the market to anticipate future long term care needs.

On the evidence for viruses in social work systems: law, ethics and practice

M. Preston-Shoot

European Journal of Social Work, vol. 13, 2010, p. 465-482

This paper presents evidence of disjunction between law in theory and its implementation by social work managers and practitioners. It questions whether, when legal rules are infringed, practice is also unethical. It uses social work in England as a case study, but research from Europe and elsewhere is also reported to suggest the disjunction is more widely evident. Evidence of the disjunction is presented drawing from judicial review cases, investigations by the Commissioner for Local Administration, and inquiry evidence and government reports.

Personal budgets and the workforce implications for social care providers: expectations and early experiences

K. Baxter, M. Wilberforce and C. Glendinning

Social Policy and Society, vol.10, 2011, p. 55-65

This paper discusses the implications for adult social care providers of an increase in the use of personal budgets (PBs). PBs are user controlled budgets provided to service users for the purchase of social care support. The article presents the findings of two English studies of the impact of PBs under four headings: financial and workforce planning; recruitment and retention; workforce training; and service user/provider relationships.

Social care as first work experience in England: a secondary analysis of the profile of a national sample of migrant workers

S. Hussein, J. Manthorpe and M. Stevens

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 19, 2011, p. 89-97

Migrant workers are increasingly important to the care sector in England, but there is very limited information on their profile compared with UK-born workers, particularly in the case of recent migrants working in the sector. This study aims to explore the differences in the profile of recent migrant care workers in relation to other workers using the new National Minimum Data Set for Social Care, which is completed by social care employers in England. Recent migrants in the care sector were significantly younger and held higher qualifications than their UK counterparts. They were also significantly concentrated in the private and voluntary sectors and in direct care work. There were variations between recent migrants' ethnicity and their job roles, with Asian workers more prevalent in senior care positions.

Social work in the context of adult social care in England and the resultant implications for social work education

M. Lymbery and K. Postle

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 40, 2010, p. 2502-2522

Following the death of Peter Connelly, the government established a Task Force to examine the nature and purpose of social work in England. Concurrently, numerous government documents have endorsed a shift towards personalisation in relation to services for adults. This paper explores the implications of these policy changes, arguing that a number of dilemmas for practitioners will exist in the new policy framework. It examines a range of practical dilemmas from the tension between needs and tight resources to the complex relationship between service user autonomy and protection that underpins all social work interventions. In examining these difficulties, the paper explores the role of qualified social workers under the new regime and the consequences for social work education.

Vision for adult social care: capable communities and active citizens

Department of Health


The Coalition Programme committed the Government to reforming the system of social care in England to provide much more control to individuals and their carers. This vision focuses on Government commitments to:

  1. break down barriers between health and social care funding to incentivise preventative action
  2. extend the rollout of personal budgets to give people and their carers more control and purchasing power
  3. use direct payments to carers and better community-based provision to improve access to respite care.

The vision is based on seven principles: prevention, personalisation, partnership, protection, plurality, productivity and people (workforce)

(For comment see Caring Times, Jan. 2011, p. 12-13)

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