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

Accessing information about health and social care services

D. Swain and others

Picker Institute, 2007

Using 'mystery shoppers' to test pathways to information in the health, social care and voluntary sectors, this research found that professionals failed to systematically provide their clients with information about accessing local services. It also uncovered a lack of effective signposting to where information could be found, and insufficient co-ordination between providers across geographical, sectoral and organisational boundaries. Many health and social care staff also failed to anticipate service users' information needs.

(For summary see Community Care, June 14th 2007, p. 16-17)

The adoption and implementation of a service innovation in a social work setting: a case study of family group conferencing in the UK

L. Brown

Social Policy and Practice, vol. 6, 2007, p. 321-332

The last decade has seen rafts of government initiatives aimed at promoting innovation in the public services in the UK. This paper examines the adoption of particular innovation in social service delivery, namely, family group conferencing. It explores the rate and pattern of the adoption of this service innovation by councils with social service responsibilities. It examines the implementation process and identifies resources, professional resistance, risk, the role of central government and champions amongst factors that facilitated or inhibited its use in three case studies.

Bridging the gap between social work practice and community based welfare agencies

L. Hardwick and A. Worsley

European Journal of Social Work, vol. 10, 2007, p. 245-258

It is argued that social work has lost contact with local community agencies in the UK. Social work education focuses on training students to work in the statutory sector and pays little attention to the understanding of local needs. It is assumed that practice, policy and knowledge required are more or less the same in all regions. This article examines a pragmatic approach taken by a social work programme in Liverpool to address some of these issues through the opportunity afforded by changes to the new social work degree. A study was undertaken to develop a placement module designed to raise awareness of the local dimension of welfare within the student body.

Increasing user choice or privatizing risk? The antinomies of personalization

I. Ferguson

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 37, 2007, p. 387-403

The concept of 'personalization' currently occupies a place at the heart of emergent British social work policy, philosophy and even legislation. The author argues that the current popularity of the term is due primarily to its congruence with key themes in New Labour thought, including individualization, responsibilization and the transfer of risk from the state to the individual. It is concluded that, given its acceptance of the marketisation of social work, its neglect of issues of poverty and inequality, its flawed conception of the people who use social services, its potentially stigmatising view of welfare dependency, and its potential for promoting, rather than challenging, the deprofessionalisation of social work, the philosophy of personalisation is not one which social workers should accept uncritically.

Taking the plunge

N. Valios

Community Care, June 21st 2007, p. 16-18

There are a growing number of directors whose role now stretches beyond the traditional social care remit to include responsibility for leisure facilities, libraries and carnivals. This article explores the development of the role of director of community services through a number of case studies.

Too close and personal

S. Gillen and A.U. Sale

Community Care, June 7th 2007, p. 16-18

Mobile phones, text messaging and email have all aided communication between social workers and service users, but have also made it more difficult for professionals to maintain proper boundaries. Communicating in this way has the potential to create a false familiarity or intimacy between social worker and service user.

Vulnerable adults: regulating the social care workforce

M. Wardle

Journal of Adult Protection, vol. 9, May 2007, p. 37-41

Raising standards in the social care workforce and improving public protection are fundamental objectives of the General Social Care Council established in October 2001. By regulating social care workers and social work education, the Council is minimising the risk of service users suffering abuse at the hands of those employed to help them.

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