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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2006): Social care - UK

By mutual consent

D. Callaghan

Community Care, Sept.28th-Oct.4th 2006, p.30-31

Reports that five South London Borough Councils are collaborating to “bulk buy” residential placements for people with learning difficulties from local providers. Another group of councils in West London is looking at the potential to collaborate in the procurement of adult social care services to improve quality and realise savings.

Challenging social work: the institutional context of practice

C. McDonald

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006

The modern welfare state is being significantly restructured and social work has to adapt in response. The book takes account of the significant social, political and economic changes that have influenced social work practice in recent years and explores the challenges facing the profession. It covers:

  • Important social policy trends and their application to social care services
  • The underlying theories of social work and their relation to practice
  • The drivers of change affecting the institutional context of social work
  • The future path of the profession

Consumers, clients or citizens? Politics, policy and practice in the reform of social care

J. Clarke

European Societies, vol.8, 2006, p.423-442

The New Labour government has strongly promoted consumer choice in its programme of public service modernisation. This paper explores four aspects of consumerism in relation to social care in the UK: the political context of the rise of the citizen-consumer; the place of the citizen-consumer in social care policy; the response of social care providers to consumerist pressures; and the impact of consumerism on characteristic tensions in public services.

Our health, our care, our say: making it happen

Department of Health and NHS


The White Paper “Our health, our care, our say” set a new direction for social care and community health services with four main goals:

  • Introduction of better preventative and early intervention services
  • More choice for individuals and communities
  • Tackling inequalities and improving access to services
  • More support for people with long-term needs

This report provides an update on implementation of changes to achieve these goals, and a brief look forward to the next stages.

Performance measurement in social care: a comparison of efficiency measurement methods

P. Clarkson and D. Challis

Social Policy and Society, vol.5, 2006, p.461-477

Measuring performance, quality and efficiency in social care has recently achieved prominence in the UK. However alternative systems of measurement produce different performance rankings. This article uses recent data to demonstrate the results of using three different methods of measuring the cost efficiency of English social services departments (unit costs, regression analysis and data envelopment analysis). The analyses confirm that a local authority’s position in a ranking of performance depends on the measurement method chosen.

Sins of the cost cutters

R. Griffiths

Community Care, Sept. 28th-Oct. 4th 2006, p.34-35

The pursuit of cost and efficiency savings by social services managers can adversely affect users if not handled well. This article identifies some of the pitfalls associated with cost cutting initiatives and discusses how they can be avoided by treating financial efficiency and customer service based on good professional practice as integrated rather than parallel activities.

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