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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2012): Social care - UK

Alcohol

K. Barrie

Edinburgh: Dunedin, 2012

The book considers alcohol use and problems in a contemporary context in the UK, taking account of mounting concerns about health and antisocial behaviour in the early years of the 21st century. These concerns are set against the decreasing price of alcohol and increasing consumption over the past four decades. The first part of the book establishes the context of alcohol consumption as a driver of health issues, describes the commercial and public policy interests at play and the consequences at individual and societal levels. In the second part policy areas are established ranging from price and availability, to advertising, law, licensing, education, offending and drink driving. The final section looks at the professional responses and training needs of those encountering alcohol generated problems in their work and discuses early intervention and treatment programmes.

The Care Quality Commission: regulating the quality and safety of health and adult social care

Department of Health

London: TSO, 2011 (House of Commons papers, session 2010/12; HC 1665)

The report details how the Care Quality Commission had a difficult task in establishing itself, and has not so far achieved value for money in regulating the quality and safety of health and adult social care in England. The Commission, formed in 2009, had to merge three existing regulators to establish a new organisation and implement a new regulatory approach, which for the first time integrates health and social care. The Commission's budget is less than the combined budget of its predecessor bodies, even though it has more responsibilities. Even so, it spent less than budgeted in both 2009-10 and 2010-11. This was partly because it had a significant number of staff vacancies. The process for registering care providers did not go smoothly. Although 21,600 providers are now registered, the timetable for two of the three tranches of registrations was not met. The Commission diverted inspectors from compliance activity to registration work in a bid to meet the timetable. As a result of this and the number of inspector vacancies, the Commission completed only 47% of the target number of compliance reviews between October 2010 and April 2011. Although clearly defined, the Commission's role as a regulator has not always been communicated effectively to the public and providers. In addition, proposals to extend the Commission's role risk distracting it from its core work of regulating health and social care.

The definition of social work in the United Kingdom, 2000-2010

J. Dickens

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 21, 2012, p.34-43

This article reviews the approaches that the four countries of the UK - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - have taken to organising, regulating and defining social work since devolution. The introduction of devolved government brought extensive organisational changes, multiple policy initiatives and a proliferation of regulatory and advisory agencies. All four countries have undertaken reviews of the roles and tasks of social workers, making the UK an intriguing case study of the tensions involved in specifying what social work is and what it should be. The analysis highlights four key dimensions in the enduring debates: values-roles, social-individual, care-control, and public-professional.

Human rights in health and social care

T. Gavrielides

Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care, vol. 4, 2011, p. 28-37

It was intended that the Human Rights Act 1998 would trigger cultural change in public service provision and society generally. This article focuses on its impact on health and social care services and their minority ethnic users. It reviews recent policy and academic papers, and government initiatives since the Act's implementation in 2000. It also looks at user surveys and evidence submitted to Parliament and public inquiries. It is concluded that the Act's original intention of promoting a human rights culture in public service delivery has not been realised due to misunderstanding and ignorance of the fundamental nature of those rights.

'In our experience': chairing and commissioning serious case reviews in adult safeguarding in England

J. Manthorpe and S. Martineau

Journal of Social Work, vol. 12, 2012, p. 84-99

This article reports on an audit that examined aspects of the conduct of serious case reviews in adult safeguarding in England and Wales. Serious case reviews in adult safeguarding are voluntary and non-statutory. They may be undertaken by local authorities in partnership with other agencies when a vulnerable adult has died or experienced harm and there is evidence or suspicion of neglect or abuse. There is little government guidance and practice appears variable.

Sefton unravelled

J. Landau

Caring Times, Jan. 2012, p. 12

The Sefton Care Association and several of its member care homes mounted a successful legal challenge to Sefton Council's decision in February 2010 to freeze fees. This article considers what the Sefton judgment means for the social care sector.

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