Putting people into personalisation: relational approaches to social care and housing

Document type
Fox, Alex
Date of publication
1 June 2013
Older Adults, Housing and Homelessness, Social Work, Social Care and Social Services
Social welfare
Material type

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The governing philosophy of modern public service provision is that of individual empowerment: it is believed that if people have the power to choose, their needs will be met by the services that they select. A whole industry has grown up around this philosophy, but it unfortunately cannot deliver on what people really want and need – other people. The needs of older people in particular, which this paper primarily concerns, cannot wholly be met by enabling them to become more powerful consumers of public services. Their needs are rather far more social and relational, and it is this aspect – not greater choice and individual empowerment – that is in need of greater supply. Older people can be active producers of social capital, rather than simply consumers of public services.

If public service provision is currently based on such a model, what can be done to bring older people’s real needs back into alignment with what we supply? This paper attempts to put people back into personalisation and explores the various ways in which human needs can be met and their skills harnessed by existing and new models of support.

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