Social Policy - Putting People First

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SOCIAL POLICY

For this assignment l have been asked to identify and examine a social policy and to make reference to a political ideology of welfare, discuss the contributions of social work, service user and carer’s experiences to the policy document. To achieve this l will discuss ‘Pettigrew’s model of strategic change’ which will help to summarise the key elements considered when looking at any specific policy.

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(Public Administration & Management, 1999, pp. 494-507)

Firstly to discuss the context, the governmental approach with New Labours/Third Way philosophy behind the policy “Putting People First”, the principles and why it was implemented, how this fits with what we know about New Labours commitment to finding solutions to societal issues from a socialist type theorist view. Also to discuss the Process, how it was put together and implemented. But most crucially l will discuss the Content, the implications to service user’s and carer’s experiences to the policy and its impact, in conjunction with the social work contribution to the policy and its own implications to welfare provision.

Old age, seen as a burden viewed by governments as a 'cost to society', a value of each person has been imposed by way of what a local authority is willing to pay, “Older people are seen as 'past their best', no longer productive, no longer contributing to the economy and therefore a burden, a drain on the states resources” (Thompson, 2006, p.100).

Demography along with increased expectations, put demands on an already faltering, aged service, people living longer with complex needs due to new technology, plus services out of touch with the needs and expectations of today. A well educated generation with the aptitude to convey their requirements, rather than the acceptance of being grateful for whatever they can get. In an age of 60 being the new 40, people wanting, expecting and hoping for a new type of consideration in regard to any help they may need.

Using these arguments government issued statements that social care as it stands could not possibly continue and if not redressed, would not survive; something had to change. Driven by figures forecast that social care costs in the future were to rise and by “2022, 20% of the English population will be over 65 and by 2027, the number of over 85yr olds will have increased by 60%”(Department of Health, 2008,p.1).

“Intolerance of inequality was the prevailing mood and New Labour policies reflected this”(Blakemore & Griggs,2007, p.274), rethinking the aged Old Labour ideology of state provision and a well-known system of need, assessment, criteria and services provisioned on the outcome of eligibility, and provisioned by a limited statutory service were not reflecting good practice in terms of equality.

In recognition of the rising cost of old age, New Labour in 2007 introduced the Putting People First policy as a “shared vision and commitment to the transformation of adult social care” and stated that it was to “set the new direction for adult social care for the next ten years or more” (DH) (2008), and has even been suggested by Alcock 2008 as being the most sweeping transformation of adult social care since the 1990’s community care act.

Putting People First superseded the government white paper “our health, our care, our say – a new direction for community services (Department of Health, 2006), which gave an insight of what was to come and shared with it some of the radical thinking behind the governments new ‘third way’ philosophy.

Putting People First was designed to implement a new way of delivering services through commissioning, personal budgets, recognising and utilising alternative methods of care provision such as family care, community support groups, voluntary sector and partnership working. These commissioned services can be partly funded via alternative funding streams such as lottery,...
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