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

Direct payments and social work practice: the significance of 'street-level bureaucracy' in determining eligibility

K. Ellis

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 37, 2007, p. 405-422

Some researchers have concluded that the present government intends direct payments to become the normal, rather than the exceptional, mode of social care delivery. However, research has also identified a number of barriers to widening take-up within front line assessment and care management practice, particularly low staff awareness of, and lack of confidence in handling, the direct payments option. Paternalistic approaches to risk and user control have also been linked to a lack of commitment to the principles of independent living which direct payments would support. This paper reports on recent research into the factors underlying social workers’ determinations of eligibility for direct payments. The study aimed to explore the proposition that rather than being driven by policy or professional training, front line social workers’ behaviour is intelligible as an instance of 'street level bureaucracy' as defined by Lipsky in 1980.

Free personal care in Scotland: a narrative review

H. Dickinson and others

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 37, 2007, p. 459-474

The 1999 Royal Commission on Long Term Care recommended that personal care for older people should be free at the point of use. Scotland has implemented this recommendation while England has not. Against this background, this narrative review describes the key features of the Scottish system, emerging lessons, and key implications for future policy and practice in England and internationally.

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