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

ANOTHER PIECE OF THE JIGSAW

K. Day
Community Care, no. 1273, 1999, p. 22-23

The government has published its new draft ethical framework for local councils. It proposes:

  • that all local authorities would be obliged to adopt a model code of conduct that would replace the present voluntary code;
  • that local authorities would be obliged to introduce standards committees to enforce the code;
  • that an independent standards board would be created to deal with major allegations of misconduct.

These measures should help restore public confidence in social services.

BEST VALUE SOCIAL SERVICES: A HANDBOOK

K. Fletcher
Caerphilly: Social Services Strategic Planning, 1998

Practical handbook showing how the concept of best value can be applied to social services.

CHANGING ROLES

K. Inman
Community Care, no. 1275, 1999, p. 20-21

The government's plans for the modernisation of local services include a performance assessment framework which will allow measurement of council's overall success in meeting local needs. Within the framework, performance indicators will be used to gauge how effective social services departments are at providing specific services. Individual social care workers will be subject to increasing monitoring by employers and required to meet tightly defined goals at work. Staff may have to specialise to deliver high-quality services, and will need extra training to handle key aspects of their work such as partnership working.

DEVOLVED GOVERNMENT

Community Care, no. 1274, 1999. Supplement. 7 p.

Looks at the impact of devolution on social work and social care. In Scotland and Wales there are fears that social care issues may be swamped by concerns about health and education. If the parliaments begin to centralise, the smaller local authorities brought in by local government reorganisation may not be able to sustain individual social services departments. In spite of these anxieties there is hope that social work professionals will get more of a chance to promote social care, highlighting the value that a well run, properly financed social services department can add to the fabric of communities. In England, new regional and ruling bodies may have new ways of exercising power, with mayors, local cabinets and powerful civil servants. The most interesting area of change here will be the impact of local cabinet government on officer roles and responsibilities, and the relationships between councillors and officers. It is likely that directors of social services will become more like senior civil servants, primarily responsible to a specific cabinet member rather than the council as a whole.

IMPLEMENTATION OF BEST VALUE

A. Mackay
Registered Homes and Services, vol. 4, May 1999, p. 5-6

The Best Value initiative should help local authorities to achieve quality at a fair price, while giving people a choice and ensuring a rich diversity of provision. It should ensure a fair and open purchasing process that involves joint planning and mutual trust between authorities and social care providers. In the future, under the Best Value framework, public/independent sector partnerships may at last become meaningful.

TACKLING DRUGS TO BUILD A BETTER BRITAIN: UNITED KINGDOM ANTI-DRUGS CO-ORDINATOR'S ANNUAL REPORT 1998/99

Cabinet Office. UK Anti-Drugs Co-ordination Unit
London: 1999

Announces a shift of resources away from punishment to prevention and treatment. Government has pledged £57 million over the next three years to improve drug education and prevention work in schools and the community. Significant additional resources have also been allocated for drug treatment services, which could increase provision by about one-third.

TOP PLANS FOR COURSES

M. Hunter
Community Care, no. 1273, 1999, p. 10

Outlines how the new Training Organisation for the Personal Social Services (TOPSS UK) aims to raise standards. It intends first of all to investigate and understand training needs across the spectrum of social care, and is engaged in a 'workforce mapping' project to identify gaps in provision. One of TOPSS UK's biggest challenges will be to provide a UK-wide training strategy in post-devolution Britain.

TOPPING THE AGENDA

K. Inman
Community Care, no. 1277, 1999, p. 26-27

Reports on the development of a new devolved training structure that ensures effective representation from the four regions of the UK and from different service users and providers. The Training Organisation for Personal Social Services is an employer-led body set up to provide a coherent qualifications and training strategy for UK staff in the statutory, private and voluntary social care sector.

VACANCIES SHORTFALL THREATENS SOCIAL SERVICES MODERNISATION

N. Valios
Community Care, no. 1277, 1999, p. 2-3

The government's modernisation programme could be jeopardised by a worsening recruitment crisis in social services. Quality Protects and youth offender teams in particular have become problem areas as response to recent adverts has been poor.

WILL THE GOVERNMENT'S DRUGS FIX GET A SHOT IN THE ARM?

L. Green
Community Care, no. 1275, 1999, p. 10-11

Government is shifting the emphasis of drugs strategy from punishment to prevention and cure. Drug treatment and testing orders and arrest referral schemes will be introduced nationally and £57 million will be spent on drug education and prevention work in schools and the community. There is concern however that treatment services will not be available to meet the increased demand generated by these initiatives.

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