SCIE Position paper 4: Developing social care: the past, the present and the future

By Gerald Wistow

Published: July 2005

This position paper draws on three major studies: one that consulted extensively with service users, one that reviewed the principles and values of social care and another which reviewed the current position of social care for different user groups. The paper also draws on responses from a consultation SCIE conducted on behalf of the Department of Health. If you would like to read the reports that underpinned the position paper Developing social care: the past, the present and the future, download them here.

Key messages

  • There is a broad consensus about what people want from adult social care. The messages from SCIE’s surveys, research reviews and focus groups with people using services and other stakeholders are consistent with the vision set out in the government green paper Independence, well-being and choice.
  • People who use social care think it should help them to be independent and lead more fulfilling lives. They want more choice and control, so they can lead their lives in the way they choose. They want increased opportunities and greater support from wider society, so that they aren't over-reliant on family and friends.
  • People were almost invariably positive in their comments about direct payments. Direct payments had not only boosted people's self-esteem and ended their sense of isolation, but enabled them to secure a better standard of support. Yet they also reported continuing difficulties in accessing direct payments, and problems finding sufficient staff.
  • Among participants, there was little enthusiasm for structural change or organisational integration to ensure a ‘seamless service’. What mattered was that people should experience services as being joined up, timely and responsive to their circumstances. Streamlining assessment processes could bring major benefits, and there was considerable interest in the scope for self-assessment.
  • People want to be included, accessing mainstream services, participating as active citizens and contributing to different kinds of community. Independence needs to be matched by interdependence and a sense of belonging.

Context

SCIE established its Looking to the Futureproject in January 2004 to examine the present and future role of social care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Soon after, the then Minister for Health Stephen Ladyman, announced that he would set out a vision and direction for adults’ social care in a green paper. While SCIE’s Looking to the Futureinitiative pre-dated the Department of Health’s announcements about establishing a new vision for adult social care, it became clear that there were advantages in aligning some aspects of the exercises.

Purpose

This position paper was written in response to the government green paper Independence, well-being and choice as a contribution to the formulation of the resulting white paper Our health, our care, our say. It sets out research findings, what people want for the future of social care and outlines some of the implications of delivering the vision.

Audience

This position paper was for use by the Department of Health in the formulation of its white paper Our health, our care, our say. It will also be of interest to social care organisations, professionals and policy makers with an interest in what service users want for the future of social care.

Background

If you would like to read the reports that underpinned the position paper Developing social care: the past, the present and the future, download them here.

There are nine chapters for Developing social care: the current position which you may download. Please be aware these chapters are very large and the important factors have been covered in the position paper.