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

CASE THREATENS DIRECT PAYMENTS

M. Hunter

Community Care, no. 1285, 1999, p. 10-11

Reports on the case of Lorna Smith, a care worker from South Lanarkshire who had worked for two years as a personal assistant to Ian Brown, a man with multiple disabilities. Smith claimed she had been sexually harassed by Brown and won her case at an employment tribunal. However, the tribunal ruled that South Lanarkshire Council rather than Brown should be regarded as Smith's employer and was thereby liable for damages. However, disability support groups are concerned that the ruling may jeopardise local authorities' already shaky commitment to direct payment schemes.

CHARITABLE COMPETITION

R. Whelan

Community Care, no. 1288, 1999, p. 10

Social work as a paid profession originated in the charitable visiting societies of the mid-nineteenth century. Author argues that it should not be organised by the state but should return to its roots as a largely charitable and voluntary endeavour.

'A NEW APPROACH TO SOCIAL SERVICES PERFORMANCE': CONSULTATION RESPONSES AND CONFIRMATION OF PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

Department of Health

London: 1999 (Local Authority Circular; LAC (99) 27)

Circular reports on the responses to the consultation on the proposed Performance Assessment Framework and key performance indicators for social care. It sets out the Performance Indicators for the 1999 Performance Assessment Framework, revised in the light of consultation responses.

NEW CRITERIA FOR MEASURING UP

M. George

Community Care, no. 1285, 1999. Supplement. 4p.

Details the newly announced performance indicators for social services and explains how local authorities need to respond to them.

ON THE ROAD TO UNDERSTANDING

S. Cemlyn

Community Care, no. 1285, 1999, p. 24-25

Describes a study of social services support for travellers in the wake of the 1989 Children Act. Five potential models of provision for travellers emerged from the study. In the predominant crisis model, social services only became involved in significant issues of child protection and juvenile justice. A second model involved family support services being made accessible to travellers, and a third entailed the establishment of specialist posts. A fourth approach involved good site provision which enabled the travellers relationships with the authority as a whole to improve. As a result childcare services, when needed, were more accessible. Finally, the study revealed wide differences in approach between social services departments where assessments were needed for eviction cases or planning enforcement.

PULLED EVERY WHICH WAY

J. Hirst

Community Care, no. 1286, 1999, p. 18-19

Article examines the impact of the public sector modernisation agenda on social services. Modernisation involves increased accountability through the imposition by central government of a raft of performance indicators, service frameworks and targets. New finance is being pumped into the sector, tied to conditions and targets set out in the government's programme. Concerns about the new agenda include: loss of local autonomy and discretion, increased workloads for social services staff at director level, and fears that the modernisation agenda may turn into an exercise for bashing social care staff.

A SLAP AT THE INTERFACE

B. Hudson

Health Service Journal, vol. 109, Sept. 16th 1999, p. 18-19

The performance indicators for health and social services relate to one another through four interface indicators. The organisational interdependence between health and social services is so extensive, that the joint measures should be greatly extended. Ultimately some form of integration of health and social services needs to be considered.

TACKLING INEQUALITIES IN PHYSICAL HEALTH: A NEW OBJECTIVE FOR SOCIAL WORK

E. McLeod and P. Bywaters

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 29, 1999, p. 547-565

Britain is a society divided within itself and these social divisions are embodied in unequal chances and experience of physical health. Social work is often bound up in perpetuating this situation, but, buttressed by complementary initiatives in other public spheres, it has the capacity to contribute to society's potential to nurture, not crush, health. Indicative examples of such practice are provided in relation to health maintenance, living with ill health and terminal illness.

TRAINING UNDER STRAIN

S. Wellard

Community Care, no. 1288, 1999, p. 18-21

Reports a sharp drop in the numbers of non-graduates applying for social work courses, which may be a side effect of the abolition of grants and the introduction of fees. The current application crisis overlays a perennial difficulty in finding sufficient good quality practice placements for students on Dip SW courses and the practice teachers to supervise them.

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