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

Adult social care

Law Commission

London: TSO, 2011 (House of Commons papers, session 2010/12; HC 941)

This report describes the current legal framework for adult social care, consisting of 40 separate statutes, as an 'incoherent patchwork of legislation'. There is wide variation across the country in the level of support that councils provide to vulnerable adults. The report demands consistency throughout the country and calls for the law to be clear about basic minimum entitlements to services. The proposed new system would introduce a legal duty on councils to protect vulnerable adults, grants for individuals to spend on care home places, and more support for people looking after elderly relatives.


Bringing the employer back in: why social care needs a standard employment relationship

J. Rubery and P. Urwin

Human Resource Management Journal, vol. 21, 2011, p. 122-137

This case study of home care in a UK local authority has shown up the limited extent of employment protection provided to workers in public, for-profit and not-for-profit concerns. The findings suggest that employers in the sector are failing to provide minimum employment protections, let alone develop strong HR policies to promote a committed and motivated workforce. Much of the responsibility for this lamentable state of affairs lies with the contracts under which independent care providers operate and which fail to cover full employment costs. Unfortunately current plans for user-driven care may further weaken the employers' role. Instead policymakers should seek to underpin quality improvement programmes by the creation of conditions in which strong employment relationships are able to be forged.

The challenge of managing change: what can we do differently to ensure personalisation?

M. Cornes

Journal of Integrated Care, vol.19, Apr. 2011, p.22-29

This article questions whether traditional management approaches based on leadership, training and the piloting of new teams and schemes will be sufficient to achieve personalisation and deliver change which is tangible to service users and carers. It is suggested that a new approach to policy implementation is needed which firmly locates service improvement in the mainstream of service delivery, recognising that it is inherently a collaborative activity. It is concluded that only by taking ownership of the issues which arise in the frontline of service delivery will personalisation be achieved, and that this will require a degree of organisational change to integrate 'learning and caring' into everyday practice.

Personalisation, participation and care

J. Powell

British Journal of Healthcare Management, vol.17, 2011, p. 157-164

Personalisation of social care aims to ensure that service users have choice and control over the support that they receive in all settings. It is being implemented in England through the introduction of Personal Budgets which bring together a range of funding streams to support independent living. Self-assessment allows service users to decide their own care needs and choose how to spend their Personal Budgets. This paper reviews the existing research evidence for personalisation, albeit limited, and identifies themes for future research.

Personalization and sustainable care

J.L. Powell and T. Gilbert

Journal of Care Services Management, vol. 5, 2011, p. 79-86

Personalised services are developing across the western world as a social policy response to user demands for more tailored and flexible forms of health and social care support. In the UK government is responding to such demands through the personalisation agenda and the allocation of individual budgets to users. Personalisation is also seen as a vehicle for promoting civil rights by increasing user participation, empowerment and control while also promoting self-restraint by having clients manage the costs of their care.

Quality, safety and a new people's champion

C. Bower

Journal of Care Services Management, vol. 5, 2011, p.70-74

The Care Quality Commission was set up in 2009 to bring adult social care, the NHS and independent healthcare services together under the same regulatory body. This article by its chief executive focuses on two issues: 1) the role of the regulator in driving up service quality; and 2) its role in ensuring the safety of service users. She also welcomes the establishment of Healthwatch, which will amplify the voices of service users.

Single point of access to Third Sector services: the Conwy collaborative approach

H. Dickinson and C. Neal

Journal of Integrated Care, vol.19, Apr. 2011, p. 37-48

The requirement for statutory bodies to work with voluntary and community sector organisations has long been recognised as important and is becoming increasingly crucial in the eyes of UK governments, including the Welsh Assembly government. This paper examines a new model for improving and strengthening the planning and commissioning of services from the third sector to support health and social care needs. The Conwy CIC Start Pilot is a consortium model intended to provide planners with a single reference point for procurement of service packages from a combination of statutory, independent and third sector organisations for specific user groups on a regional and local basis. The consortium acts as a partnership 'clearing house' for its members who are all involved in public service delivery.

Social work in Northern Ireland

D. Heenan

Bristol: Policy Press, 2011

This book highlights the distinctive aspects of social work policy and practice in Northern Ireland. It covers the historical development of social work, explores the challenges that have arisen from delivering services both during and post conflict and addresses the new imperatives created after the devolution settlement. Exploring many major themes - including social exclusion, devolution and working across borders - the book demonstrates how Northern Ireland's experience can provide lessons for national and international theory and practice.

Social workers need more time with service users and less pen-pushing

M. Samuel

Community Care, Apr. 21st 2011, p. 7

Westminster Council set up a commission to explore how it could meet the challenge of serving an ageing population amid significant spending cuts. The inquiry concluded that social workers should be freed from bureaucratic assessment procedures to spend more time with adult service users to drive personalisation. Decisions to raise eligibility thresholds for service provision should be accompanied by investment in prevention to ensure that people with moderate needs do not deteriorate.

The state of health care and adult social care in England: an overview of key themes in care in 2009/10

Care Quality Commission

London: TSO, 2011 (House of Commons papers, session 2010/12; HC 841)

This is Care Quality Commission's (CQC's ) second annual report on the state of health care and adult social care in England. It covers the period April 2009 to March 2010 and is based on CQC's responsibilities under the previous legislation, the Care Standards Act 2000 and the Health and Social Care Act 2003. The report shows that there have been real improvements in health care and adult social care over time, but no significant upward shift in 2009/10. However, many people had greater control over their care, through more choice about appointment times, the location and their care provider. The analysis of the data found that care was safer in 2009/10 than in previous years. There were fewer healthcare-associated infections and services had made improvements in protecting adults from abuse and neglect, showing greater awareness of the issues and investigating concerns more effectively. However, the report also highlights unacceptable levels of variation across England in provision of adult social care and in progress to improve outcomes.

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