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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2001): Social Care - Overseas

MANAGING THE QUALITY PARADOX: PRODUCING WELFARE SERVICES IN A TURBULENT ENVIRONMENT

J. Breda and S. Crets

International Social Work, vol. 44, 2001, p. 43-55.

Belgian public social services are guided by standards imposed by central government, including guaranteed access and decision timescales, so that these service systems cannot institute buffering arrangements such as waiting lists. With increasing demand, public agencies enter into a downward spiral in which more demand means less time for each case and a lower quality service for all clients. Central government needs to increase the budget for operating costs, to avoid every wave of new demands leading to further deterioration in service quality.