Reforming Human Services: The Experience of the Community Resource Boards in B.C

Synopsis

Reforming Human Services describes the fundamental changes that occurred in applied social policy and in the actual delivery of social and health services in British Columbia in the 1970's. To some observers these changes were the most ambitious in the world, given the brief time period in which they were undertaken.

The growth of the bureaucracy in social and health services had led to a perceived lack of responsiveness to the community. Democratizing and integrating fragmented services were priorities of the New Democratic Party government elected in 1972, and the creation of elected community resource boards was the first attempt to make the system more accessible.

The scope of the changes and the speed with which systems were rearranged by the Ministry of Human Resources generated considerable reaction from the public, the press, and the politicians as well as the staff and clients of the affected services. This book not only gives the background to the context in which these changes were made, but also provides perspectives from all the other major actors.

The Ministry of Health was less committed to massive and immediate change and chose to undertake #147;experiments#148; and #147;pilot projects.#148; The similarities and differences in the two processes had major implications for how and in what form the changes in the systems survived.

When the Social Credit party was re-elected in 1975, most of the citizen participation component was dismantled, and direct government control was re-asserted over the administration and delivery of services. Nevertheless, the authors' analyses of N. D. P. policies and implementation strategies have implications far beyond the boundaries of British Columbia, and will be of interest to all concerned with social policy from a political or practical standpoint.