Caring and Coping: A Guide to Social Services

By Anthony Douglas; Terry Philpot | Go to book overview

Chapter 3

The nuts and bolts of care

Politics and organisation

Social services departments are part of local government, along with teachers, environmental health officers, street cleaners and planning officers. Including over fifty new authorities from April 1998, created as a result of a local government review and reorganisation of boundaries, there are nearly 200 local authorities in the UK, ranging from enormous counties like Kent and Lancashire and huge conurbations like Birmingham to tiny unitary authorities like Rutland and the Corporation of London. The professional issues facing social services directors in Kent and Rutland are similar, but the management task is a galaxy apart. Indeed, the major local authority areas in the UK contain the largest populations under local authority control in the Western world.

While Whitehall, through the Social Services Inspectorate (formerly the Social Work Service), continues to be responsible for the registration and inspection of voluntary children’s homes, secure accommodation provision, and the inspection of local authority social services on a rolling programme, central government has not relished assuming direct responsibility for services which have a low public and political interest or kudos until something goes wrong. Passing responsibility elsewhere is not that easy. For example, the Conservative Government’s idea in 1996 to shift responsibility for adoption services away from local authorities to the voluntary sector to punish them for being too politically correct in the way they handled children’s placements, presupposed a level of organisation and expertise all over the country which only a new national voluntary sector strategy with a new funding base could have delivered. The incoming Labour Government of 1997 hinted that social services departments might be broken up and directly run from Whitehall through regional community care authorities, similar to

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Caring and Coping: A Guide to Social Services
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - From Charity to Social Work 6
  • Chapter 2 - On the Statute Book 21
  • Chapter 3 - The Nuts and Bolts of Care 37
  • Chapter 4 - For the Child’s Sake 57
  • Chapter 5 - Does the Community Care? 94
  • Chapter 6 - Whose Service is It, Anyway? 138
  • Chapter 7 - Home from Home? 150
  • Chapter 8 - Something Special 160
  • Chapter 9 - More Than a Piece of Paper 172
  • Chapter 10 - The Manager’s Tale 180
  • Chapter 11 - Acts of Charity 195
  • Chapter 12 - All in It Together 208
  • Chapter 13 - Across the Borders 218
  • Chapter 14 - Conclusion 231
  • Notes 236
  • Bibliography 242
  • Index 247
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