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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 1999): Social Care - UK - Community Care

CARING FOR CARERS: A NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR CARERS

Department of Health
Wetherby, 1999.

Presents national carers' strategy consisting of a carers' charter setting out new standards, £140 million to local authorities to fund respite care, a second pension for carers by the year 2050 equating to an extra £50.00 a week, support for carers' centres, greater help for carers returning to work, more help for the estimated 50,000 young carers and parents of disabled children, council tax reduction for carers in bands A and B and improved training about young carers for new social workers.

(For comment see Community Care, issue 1259, 1999, p. 2-3)

CLAIMANTS COUNT COST OF DAY CENTRE CHARGES

S. Wellard
Community Care, issue 1259, 1999, p. 8-9.

Argues that local authorities are breaking the law by charging people with learning difficulties who are dependent on income support for the use of day centres. They may also be flouting the law by invoicing carers rather than users, and by including the income of carers and other family members in assessments of how much people have to pay.

A CULTURE OF FORCED COMPLIANCE

J. Waltcraft
Community Care, no. 1258, 1999, p. 13.

Criticises the government's insistence on forced compliance with treatment in community care. A culture of forced compliance would damage relationships between existing clients and key workers and discourage others from seeking help. Increased compulsion fails to address the root problems of poorly co-ordinated services and unavailability of services when needed.

FULLY CHARGED: HOW LOCAL AUTHORITY CHARGING IS HARMING PEOPLE WITH A LEARNING DISABILITY

MENCAP
London: 1999

Provides a comprehensive picture of local authorities' charging policies for adult non-residential services in England and Wales. Non-residential services, such as day-centres, provide the only opportunity for people with a learning disability to live independent lives. They are also vital in meeting care needs. Charging is jeopardising the well-being of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the UK.

HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?

S. Wellard
Community Care, no. 1262, 1999, p. 10.

Argues that the new social services performance indicators can be useful in providing clear service objectives. Indicators will need careful interpretation. For instance, long term stability of placements for children in care may reflect difficulty in recruiting foster parents, which is outside of the control of social services.

JOINT WORKING IN COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH: PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES

B. Hannigan
Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 7, 1999, p. 25-31.

Paper suggests that the effective and efficient provision of community mental health services in Britain is challenged by a range of structural, operational and professional barriers. At the structural level, these include fragmentation, arbitrary division of responsibility between 'health' and 'social' domains, unpooled resources and unshared geographical and financial boundaries. To overcome these barriers, Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) operational policies need to include multiagency agreement on professional roles and responsibilities, target client groups, eligibility criteria for access to services, client pathways to and from care, unified systems of care management, documentation and use of information technology, and management and accountability arrangements. At the practitioner level, community mental health care is provided by groups who may have limited mutual understanding of differing values, education, roles and responsibilities. Review suggests that policy-driven solutions to the challenges facing integrated community mental health care may be needed.

MENCAP SLAMS SERVICE BILLING AS TAX ON USERS

N. Valios
Community Care, no. 1258, 1999, p. 6-7.

Reports that research conducted by Mencap has shown that people with learning difficulties who live on income support are being billed for day services by 55% of local authorities in England and Wales. Mencap was shocked by the extent of the charging and wants the government to issue guidelines to ensure that local authorities do not levy charges which must be paid out of income support.

SOCIAL RIGHTS AND DISABILITY: THE LANGUAGE OF 'RIGHTS' IN COMMUNITY CARE POLICIES

A. Y. Drewett
Disability and Society, vol. 14, 1999, p. 115-128

Paper draws on a landmark test case in community care to explore the problem of a rights-based approach to social justice for disabled people. It demonstrates the weakness of rights, especially the more problematic 'social rights' and urges caution in the seeking of solutions to social problems in the courts.

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