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

The care trust pilgrims

R. Miller, H. Dickinson and J. Glasby

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 19, no.4, 2011, p. 14-21

Care trusts were introduced by the New Labour government in England to improve partnership working between health and social care. Care trusts were NHS bodies which had flexibility to take responsibility for commissioning and/or service provision for a single client group such as older people or to work across a wider range of services. Care trusts were to be a voluntary arrangement set up by the NHS and local authorities, but it was indicated that areas could be compelled to develop one if there were significant concerns about joint working. In this study, all care trusts' chief executives were invited to participate in a semi-structured interview exploring their experiences of the model. They identified a number of advantages from combining health and social care into a single organisation. However, they also experienced many of the difficulties predicted by commentators, and in hindsight half of those interviewed would recommend other options for achieving better integrated working.

CQC compliance monitoring: the new system examined

J. Sharr

Caring Times, Sept. 2011, p. 18

The Care Quality Commission has introduced a new way of judging compliance with what it calls its 'essential standards'. It has established an elaborate new compliance monitoring system based on an internal document called the 'Judgement Framework'. All compliance inspectors have to consider this internal guidance document in judging compliance with each essential standard as part of a location's review of compliance. The potential effect of these judgements on a provider's registration can be significant.

Doubts over Dilnot

J. Smith

Caring Times, Sept. 2011, p. 18

The author comments pessimistically on the recent Dilnot report on funding long-term care. He argues that: 1) the proposed system for raising the asset threshold for means testing and capping lifetime care contributions is too complicated; 2) the proposals do not inject new money into the system in a way that would improve care quality; and 3) the various other proposals for portable assessments, better support for carers, more information and advice, etc, rehearse familiar problems without suggesting new solutions.

Evidence, policy and practice: critical perspectives in health and social care

J.Glasby (editor)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2011

In many areas of the welfare state, there is a growing emphasis on 'evidence-based policy and practice'. This book provides a hard-hitting overview of the relationship between evidence, policy and practice, how policy is implemented and how research can and should influence the policy process. It critiques the notion of 'evidence-based practice', suggesting instead a more inclusive idea of 'knowledge-based practice', based in part on the lived experience of service users.

The jobs gap

D. Lombard

Community Care, Aug. 18th 2011, p. 28-29

Following the financial crisis of 2008/09 and subsequent UK public spending cuts, recruitment freezes are now widespread in social services. Job opportunities for newly qualified social workers have dried up as councils restructure services and rely more on unqualified staff. There is also evidence that they are unwilling to invest in training and developing inexperienced recent graduates.

Personalisation in social work

A. Gardner

Exeter: LearningMatters, 2011

The government agenda on personalisation and self-directed support is fast-moving and rapidly changing. The book provides an overview of the personalisation agenda and reflects on the legislation, history, theories, values and collective voices that have influenced it. Opportunities are also provided for students to consider changes to the social work role, and to evaluate the impact of these on service users and practitioners.

'Sham' cuts consultations leave councils facing legal bills

V. Pitt

Community Care, Sept. 1st 2011, p. 4-5

Information supplied by 73 English councils in response to freedom of information requests suggests that 10% may have breached equality laws by failing to consult properly on cuts to adult care. Ten per cent of councils went ahead with proposed changes to adult care services on the day they finished the consultation or, in some cases, even before this. Such behaviour leaves them open to legal challenge.

Specialist HIV workers: vital but under threat

N. Valios

Community Care, Sept. 1st 2011, p. 22-23

Financial pressures, exacerbated by HIV social care funding losing its ring-fencing, are driving some councils to cut specialist HIV social worker roles and to move clients to generic teams. This means that HIV positive clients have to deal with social workers with no specialist knowledge of HIV.

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