Book reviews from 9 October edition Community Care

Sector insiders provide their professional views onbooks for people with dementia, a study of community policy, a history of probation and a guide to adult protection

Childhood in Pictures (ISBN 9780955394003)

The Countryside in Pictures (ISBN 9780955394010)

Women’s Work in Pictures (ISBN 9780955394027)


Helen Bate, Pictures to Share telephone 01829 262565

These are beautifully produced books for people with memory loss, confusion and dementia. The inspiration came from personal experience. Editor Helen Bate cared for her mother who had Parkinson’s disease and dementia in the 1990s and found so few resources that she produced her own. Ideas that started with a family scrapbook grew into a series of books and a social enterprise company formed in 2006 to publish them.

The images include paintings, colour and black and white photographs, and bright contemporary prints. The fact that the pictures are not childish makes them useful as pegs upon which to hang conversation. The images and thought-provoking words provide common ground, ideas, and enjoyment without infantilising the person with dementia, or boring or embarrassing family members sharing the experience.

So many of the staff, managers and service providers in the care sector are caught up in measuring, assessing, qualifying, regulating, inspecting and meeting mandatory requirements that a simple pleasure like reading may seem wholly irrelevant. But what seems to be missing in much of what we all do in the care sector is a range of small things that can make such a difference to service users’ quality of life.

There are seven titles available in total in this Pictures to Share series.

Liz Willetts is head of education and training at the Social Care Association

Care, Community and Citizenship:

Research and practice in a changing policy context


Edited by Susan Balloch and Michael Hill, Policy Press ISBN 9781861348708

Community and locally-based interventions and governance have received a fillip under the Labour government. This approach looks certain to continue with people expected to take responsibility for assessing their own needs and deciding at an individual and a local level how these should be met.

Individualism is emphasised at the expense of collectivism, and social justice has been redefined as inclusion and opportunity as opposed to redistribution and transformation.

This book addresses these issues by focusing on the relationship between care, community and citizenship. It links them in a way that is relevant to research and practice.

The book has two main aims. One is to question current approaches to community care. This is significant at a time when “community” continues to be ill-defined and care is often taken for granted.

The second aim is to identify effective strategies and practices that lie behind these approaches, through which individuals may be supported to live normally and safely within communities regardless of income and wealth, age and impairment.

Keith Popple is professor of social work at London South Bank University

Changing Lives: An oral history of probation


Vicky Boroughs, Keith Falcon, Harry Fletcher (Eds)

National Association of Probation Officers

ISBN 0901617229

As a snapshot of the history of probation from 1820 to 2006, this is a quick reference to the highlights and milestones of the service. Re-reading the oral history, there is a great shortage of contributors from north of Birmingham. Why?

There are also other omissions in recognising the contribution of the many people who have worked with probation officers so that they can provide a broad spectrum of support. For example, what about the landladies and landlords who have offered accommodation to ex-prisoners? There is also no mention of those who offered help as volunteers over the years.

And what about the frontline staff in the offices across the country whom clients meet? Yes, I am aware that they are not members of the National Association of Probation Officers. But they tried their best to keep things running as smoothly as possible.

Michael Kearns, senior substance misuse practitioner, Greater Manchester

Working with Care: A guide to ­protecting the vulnerable from abuse


Philip Darling, Colin Selby and Graham Mills

Selby and Mills

ISBN 0955377609

This is described as a guide but essentially it is a risk assessment survey that should be undertaken by your organisation. It is a model based on seven critical areas that have been highlighted by this firm of “chartered occupational psychologists and innovative test developers”.

The seven areas are: awareness, culture and values resources policies and procedures staff recruitment and selection training and development management and supervision and action on abuse.

It is comprehensive, although probably time-consuming to complete, and I wonder how many large organisations would be willing to co-ordinate the time and resources of the different departments that need to be involved. Perhaps it would suit smaller organisations.

It includes the inevitable definitions on vulnerability and abuse, and I am pleased that it considers and highlights the need for “boundaries” within the caring relationship.

David Taylor is child and adult protection officer with Scope

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