By Alison Petch
For the majority of people who have a range of support needs, it is immaterial whether the response to their needs is organized by the health sector or the social care sector. Their priority is that there is a response. Yet history has created an organizational split between health and social care services. For many with a range of needs, this is likely to create artificial boundaries, barriers, and complexities. At the individual level, this may lead to fragmentation or duplication of support provisions. At the planning level, it can result in a provision which is less than 'seamless.' Recent years have witnessed accelerating demands from governments throughout the UK for closer collaboration between health and social care agencies. Policies have ranged from permissive strategies that encourage consultation and joint planning, to legislation requiring the pooling of funds and creating single agency responsibility. Developing partnerships that work across health and social care is one of the areas where the most distinctive differences have emerged between Scotland and the rest of the UK. This divergence provides the focus for this book. A specific Scottish Executive initiative, the Joint Future Agenda, has focused on meeting adult support needs through effective joint working. The report of a Ministerial Joint Future Group in 2000, Community Care: A Joint Future, has provided the foundation for subsequent community care initiatives. This book explores the details of this initiative in the context of what is known about the impact and effectiveness of integrated working.