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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2007): Social care - UK

Capacity building and the reconception of political participation: a role for social care workers?

K. Postle and P. Beresford

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 37, 2007, p.143-158

This paper links the discourse concerning the growth of user involvement in public policy with the discourse about participation in political activity, and, in making this connection, it argues for a role for social workers in supporting service users in initiatives such as self-help, campaigning and community action in ways which counter the negative impacts of managerialism on practice. While participation in traditional political activity such as voting and party membership is declining in the UK, people in marginalised groups such as the disabled and he elderly are taking part in self-help and campaigning activities, from which they gain strength and encouragement.

Comprehensive Spending Review special

M. Ivory, J. Forder and S. Broach

Community Care, Feb. 8th-14th 2007, p. 28-34

Covers the implications of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review for social care as the deadline for submissions approaches. Social care faces the challenges of increased demand for services, rising user expectations, increasing demands from government, costs rising above inflation, and strengthening the workforce. However, it is predicted that the sector will face a “very tight settlement” and will be asked to increase productivity and deliver efficiency savings. In this context, a case is made for increased funding for services for older people and disabled children and their families.

Drawing a line

A. Norman

Professional Social Work, Feb. 2007, p. 20-21

The author argues that social workers should question and campaign against unjust laws passed by Parliament. At the personal level, they should act as advocates for their clients.

Heterosexism in health and social care

J. Fish

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006

The book aims to promote understanding of health and social care needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. It develops a theory of heterosexism to conceptualise LGBT oppression and provides examples from everyday health and social care environments. The book is organised in two parts in order to analyse heterosexism in concrete situations. The first part deals with overarching themes and in doing so, draws on existing research to examine the pervasiveness of heterosexism in relation to access to health and social care. The second part of the book reports quantitative and qualitative data from a large UK research project on lesbian health to look specifically at the ways in which health care is permeated by heterosexism. The last chapter looks forward to new directions in equality agendas and to the opportunities and threats posed by policies of social inclusion and the establishment of a single equality commission.

Mix and match

A.U. Sale

Community Care, Feb. 1st-7th 2007, p. 26-27

This article explores how the government’s drive towards personalised social care services is being reflected in local authority commissioning. It finds that changes in practice are beginning to happen, but are patchy. Local authorities need to focus more on commissioning preventative services, explain to the public that resources are finite and that they cannot commission all services that people might like, consult users and improve training of commissioners.

Most care chiefs sure of meeting efficiency targets, survey reveals

M. Samuel

Community Care, Feb. 8th-14th 2007, p.16-17

The survey reveals that most directors of adult care are confident of delivering significant efficiency savings from 2008-2011, the next government spending review period. However, while councils agree that money could be better spent, they argue that to achieve efficiency gains services will need investment from the review.

Safety in numbers

J. Hocking

Community Care, Feb. 1st-7th 2007, p.30-31

Introduces the work of the family justice centre in the London Borough of Croydon, where 32 agencies work together under one roof to help victims of domestic violence. Professionals at the family justice centre include an on-call duty and assessment social work service, advocates, police, solicitors, housing officers, Women’s Aid, Victim Support, debt and benefits advisers, and probation staff.

Social care and the modern citizen: client, consumer, service user, manager and entrepreneur

P. Scourfield

British Journal of Social Work, vol.37, 2007, p. 107-122

This paper explores the impact of New Labour’s modernisation agenda on the personal social services in England. New Labour’s vision for adult social care envisages a move towards individual budgets with which service users would arrange and purchase their own care packages. It is argued that schemes such as direct payments require what were service users to become managers and entrepreneurs. They shift the responsibility for finding and managing personal care to the “consumer”, who also becomes responsible for value for money, quality and any risks that accrue. Vulnerable people who are not entrepreneurial, are unable to manage, and choose to have services arranged for them may end up as second class citizens.

Time for care home owners to vacate their comfort zone

B. Ferguson

Caring Times, Feb. 2007, p. 10-11

This article comments on the government’s new Dignity in Care initiative, which is offering grants to enable owners to improve the physical environment of their homes. Calls for a different approach, involving outcome based commissioning of services by local authorities, which pay for 70% of places. Desired outcomes should be enshrined in targeted contractual incentives for providers to meet national standards.

Understanding and supporting professional carers

J. Thomas

Oxford: Radcliffe, 2006

The theme that runs through this book is that professional carers experience a high level of work-related stress. The book aims to increase understanding of why people choose to work in the caring professions, and of how the culture of health and social care organisations can influence the mental well being of employees. It explores the causes of stress and unhappiness that lead to illness, disillusionment and discontent among professional carers. Finally, it provides a comprehensive list of strategies for supporting professional carers including employee counselling programmes, Employee Assistance programmes, faith and spiritual support and support offered by professional bodies and unions.

What a performance!

J. Burton

Caring Times, Feb. 2007, p. 21

The author attacks introduction of a star rating system for care homes by the Commission for Social Care Inspection. He regards it as an attempt by the Commission to exert more power over homes while expending less energy on inspection.

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