Jim Richards studies an account of foster carers in Scotland;
Ged Smith looks at the effects on children of having alcoholic
parents; and Terry Bamford recommends an essential guide to changes
in social care
Ged Smith is a family therapist, Bexley and Greenwich NHS
Edited by Bob Hudson
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ISBN 1 85302 752 9
The press of events in social care since the introduction of the
community care changes has been relentless, and has gathered pace
since the government launched its modernisation programme.
Bob Hudson has assembled a talented group of contributors who
offer perspectives on these changes in the private sector, the
voluntary sector and for users and carers. Like all collections the
quality is variable but there are some gems offering important
John Stewart sees the community leadership role of local
government as generating more fundamental changes than the changes
in local management arrangements. They demand a commitment to
partnership working. The partnership theme is followed through in
sections examining work across boundaries with housing and social
security and with the private and voluntary sectors.
Disappointingly, the partnership with health, which offers both
opportunities and threats to social care, is given cursory
treatment although Hudson has written extensively elsewhere on
Hardy and Wistow provide a stimulating analysis of the
continuing tension between local authorities and the private
sector. The former distrusts the profit orientation and sometimes
the competence of private providers, and the latter mistrusts the
competence and motives of local authorities. Hardy and Wistow's
research shows the gap between the two is one of perception. In
practice the values and approach of private sector providers are
similar to those of the public sector.
The emphasis on users and carers in the changing social care
system is reviewed by Twigg. The social model of disability has
become the dominant influence in the disability lobby, but Twigg
notes that many people with disabilities are locked in a world of
relative poverty and limited expectations.
Carers and users often have different aspirations as well as
different needs. The rhetoric of user empowerment sometimes melts
in the face of services cuts and rationing. Despite the
introduction of direct payments, few users wish to pursue their
power as purchasers to shape the market.
Mapping social care in flux gives clues to the future. This book
is an essential guide to the direction of travel.
Terry Bamford is a former executive director (housing and social
services), Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea