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understanding welfare

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This essay will outline the major policy and legislative changes to social work services in Scotland since the 1980's in relation to community care. Community care is an interesting area to study as it raises questions about how the most vulnerable people in our society should be cared for (Sharkey 1995). When Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979, Britain had suffered a winter of discontent with wide spread strikes and unrest, social workers had been involved in scandals where they had been proven not to be doing their jobs (Fraser, 2003). Margaret Thatcher set about reforming the welfare state through a mixed economy of welfare (Fraser, 2003) as Beveridge's ideas of a universal and comprehensive system of welfare were based on a nuclear family unit which was no longer applicable to modern society. The 1988 Griffith Report on Community Care recommended that care should be provided to those in need as a partnership arrangement between those requiring care, their families, voluntary agencies and the state (Fraser, 2003). The official government response to Griffiths was the 1989 white paper Caring for People, Community Care in the Next Decade and Beyond, which set out the government policy on community care, largely adopting the recommendations of Griffiths, the 1990 NHS and Community Care Act implemented these policies. Scottish devolution as established by the Scotland Act of 1998 devolved legislative power to the Scottish Parliament. The Griffith report was commissioned following several House of Commons reports into community care, which were particularly focused on the closing down of institutions and the settling of people into the community.


The Scottish Social Services Council registers all social service workers and promotes the education and training of those workers. Part three of the act was to make some provisions regarding guarantees, complaints and inquiries. The fourth part contained miscellaneous provisions such as the changes to social work registration and the fifth part was regarding the implementation of the act. The Care Commission regulates the care of over 320,000 people in Scotland. All new care services must be registered before they can begin functioning, all premises are inspected at least once a year and inspections reports which are issued should be available to view by users and their families. The inspections are carried out taking the national care standards as set out by the Scottish Executive into account. The standards are based on the principles of dignity, privacy, choice, safety, realising potential and equality and diversity ( The Regulation of Care Act gives The Care Commission the right to enforce change or if necessary close the premises. The Act also gives users the right to complain about a care service and part of the inspection process is to ensure a complaints procedure is in place and service users know how to make a complaint. Services can also make a complaint about the Care Commission which they must investigate. The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) which was set up as a result of the act, with a responsibility to raise the standards in the Scottish social care workforce and make the workforce as professional as for example health care workers (Scottish Social Services Council).


confidence in social services are embedded in the SiSWE, enabling new social workers in Scotland to delivery high quality services to the national care standards. This essay has attempted to outline the major legislative and policy changes to affect community care in Scotland since the 1980's. Community care in Scotland has moved forward from the Thatcher government and the scandals involving social workers in the 1980's to service fit for the 21st centaury involving service users, carers and the community in providing high quality regulated accountable services where everyone has a voice. Community care is now the accepted way of caring for people who in the recent past were institutionalised. The 1988 Griffths report paved the way for the legislation which followed and Scotland's devolved Government continued with legislation to strengthen the community care sector and make it accountable for its actions. A system to monitor and check care facilities ensure that community care in Scotland is suitable for the 21st centaury. Word Count 1859 Balloch, S. Butt, J. Fisher, M. Lindow, V (1999) Rights Needs and the User Perspective A review of the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990. London: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation Fraser, D. (2003) The Evolution of the British Welfare State, 3rd ed. Hampshire: Palgrave Gostick, C. Davies, B. Lawson, R. Salter, C. (1997) From Vision to Reality Changing Direction at the Local Level. Aldershot: PSSRU Sharkey, P. (1995) Introducing Community Care. London: Collins Education Ltd [Accessed 17/05/2007] [Accessed 17/05/2007] [Accessed 17/05/2007 [Accessed 17/05/2007] ?? ?? ?? ?? Understanding Welfare 1

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