Social Policy and Its Application to Social Services Provision
Private problems become public issues when an individual’s problem/problems spill out into the community for example youth homelessness. Youth homelessness is greater than you might think in May 2008 it was thought that there were over 75000 youths at risk of becoming homeless, mostly due to the breakdown of the family or the introduction of a step family, 65% of these young people experienced violence as their family broke down and 20% experienced sexual abuse.
The really sad thing about the number of youths at risk of homelessness is, in order to be detected as at risk something extreme has to happen e. g. the young homeless person was arrested for causing a disturbance or ends up in hospital after a violent incident. Mostly when families breakdown we as a community know nothing about it (their family problems are kept private) this becomes a public issue which may require the creation of a “policy for dealing with social issues”, when we see young people sleeping rough or the crime rate increases as the homeless person steals to feed them self.
Over the years there has been significant research and development of policies which are aimed at combating homelessness among the 16-25 year olds and in 2002 the homelessness Act was endorsed by the Scottish parliament after it was highlighted that the numbers of homeless people sleeping rough in our cities, could affect the tourist trade, which in turn would affect our economy, this act extended the definition of priority need to include new groups of vulnerable people including youths.
This Homeless act means that young people are no longer turned away from hostels; in fact there are hostels that are just for young people (these hostels help protect the young people on the streets from abuse i. e. prostitution) This homeless act also made local authorities develop homeless strategies e. g. the housing and support team that we have in West Lothian.
Due to new policy the numbers of young people sleeping on the streets is few, and the ease of access to information/services means homeless people have hope and can access services before they actually become homeless, which in turn combats drug/alcohol abuse (which also relieves pressure off the NHS) and crime statics. 2. Social policies come about due to various influences. Nationwide statics are gathered for various reasons and as a result these figures/statics can and do bring around change in policy or even the implementation of new olicies e. g. it was found that the number of people binge drinking and requiring hospital treatment was on the rise, so the government created a policy that it was illegal to have happy hours in bar’s and it was illegal for shops to have two for one offers on alcohol. Another way the government is influenced to change or create policy is through pressure groups. Pressure groups don’t have to be official bodies or organisations like “fathers for justice”, they can be a group of people who are concerned about an issue in their community e. . a group of concerned parents petitioning the government about the lack of services for teenagers in their area (youth club) due to the planned closure of the community centre. Social policies can also come about if there is a threat to society e. g. terrorism, after 9/11 the pass port policy changed, before 9/11 children were able to travel on their parents passport, after 9/11 the policy changed and now everyone needs a passport regardless of age.
Before 9/11 we could travel within our own country (Glasgow-London) without a passport now we can’t. Policies have also changed after public outcry. After the abduction, rape and murder of a child in England by a convicted paedophile, who had been housed in the area on his release from prison. The policy that gave these people anonymity was reviewed and changed, so that anyone who is concerned about an adult, who is working with children, can ask the police if they are a risk. 3.
The mixed economy of care came about due to the governments of the 1980s being concerned that the place for the care of people should be provided from within their communities and that the “sense of community” would be lost as people stopped “looking after their own”. People would stop contributing charitably to the community and the people in it ( popping in on a neighbour to give her a break from her ill husband or running to the shop for an older person as well as fund raising and legacies), as it would become taken for granted that the state would provide everything i. e. ousing and Health Care as well as meals on wheels and respite, as a result, people would not feel like it was their job to help themselves, their community or their neighbours, that it was the states job, and so the fear was the sense of community would be lost to dependency on the state. The mixed economy of care means that different services collaborate/works together in order to provide a service for an individual which not only meets their needs, but makes sure that the care being provided doesn’t over lap i. e. one care plan is made for the individual and all the required services work within this plan.
Our government as it is now (2009) has picked up where the 1980/90s left off (they carried on where the last government left off instead of returning to state provided care) and is working towards a “mixed economy of care”, it has identified 4 sectors of care provision i. e. statutory, private, voluntary and informal. The statutory sector is care what is provided by the state for example benefits, cars for the disabled and access to health care e. g. occupational health (home adaptations). The private sector offers care as part of a business for example private nursing care, respite and private pensions.
The voluntary/charity sector provide care that is funded through fundraising and donations and offers things like lunch clubs (help the aged), meals on wheels (WRVS) and hospital transport (red cross). The final sector, the informal sector comes by way of care provided by a non professional/specialist; this could be family, the community (neighbours) or friends who give up their time to look after their community and the people in it. The informal sector saves the government and NHS millions of pounds every year as their contribution relieves the need for official respite services and health care and it’s free.
The Community Care Act 1990 came about as in order to fulfil the recommendations /objectives that the white paper (1989) Caring for People had identified (the enabling of older people to live independently for as long as possible in their own home, practical support for carers, guidelines for quality individual needs assessments and accountability for service providers and the quality of care they provide) new legislation was needed, thus the community care act (1990) was passed.
Nowadays we see people living and working in our community who, not so many years ago, would have lived their lives in institutions or sanatoriums without any human rights or even choice, but now with implementation of individual/ person centred care plans/assessments, designed with the individuals needs, rights, circumstance and abilities in mind, as well as making access to different care services more easily available e. g. upported accommodation/residential nursing care, benefits, disabled employment (Remploy), occupational therapy, day care and befriending, not only are the individuals needs being met, the human rights of these individuals are being recognised. The individuals who were once locked away from the rest of society without any rights, choices or quality of life are now (with a little help from the care in the community act) living, working (Remploy) and contributing in and to communities (Volunteering in a charity shop). 4.
Funding for different care services comes from various sources for example the services that are state/government services e. g. benefits, NHS departments (occupational therapy) and pensions are funded mostly through income tax, VAT, and national insurance, but not all of these services are completely free for example an older person who requires residential care will have to contribute financially if they have enough of an income or assets to cover the cost, they will also receive little or no help financially if they have a private pension i. e. they will have to pay for glasses and prescriptions.
Funding for the local authority care services is much the same as central government funding comes firstly from the annual government grants as detailed in the 2009, amendment of the local government finance act 1992 Scotland order. Funding also comes from council tax income, business rates, licensing (alcohol) and recycling. While all this income generates wealth it does not mean everything is free and individuals will still contribute via user charges. Voluntary/charitable organisations also contribute to care services through fund raising and free care service i. . volunteers. There is also the Scottish post code lottery which has funded community projects as has the national lottery. Legacies also contribute to the financing of a service. 5. European commission was established in 1954 and has members from every country in Europe (two from the UK) its job is to form policy and legislation that protects the individuals’ human rights. They give the country an amount of time to comply adequately to any new policy/legislation, before the country is taken to the human rights court e. g. he Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment, in employment and occupation. The minimum standard (directive) as stated by the EC included the protection of equal rights. The regulations (which must be implemented immediately) for this act included equal employment opportunities (promotion). Sometimes new legislations/policies cost money to implement and it falls to the local authority to decide how best to do this, finding the money often results in other services suffering through smaller grants e. . the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources (“Renewables Directive”) the local authorities are obligated to implement these directives within a set time frame. The local authorities have to find the money, this is usually through council tax and money they make through council business e. g. Neighbourhood Recycling, this in turn affects the care service and volunteer services by reducing the budget or funding they receive and possibly a rise in taxes and rates.
The guide lines that come from the EC are a bit like expectations for example the government/EC expects local planners, architects and developers to take into account crime prevention when designing streets for example, this is to provide a safe and secure environment (your human right to live in a safe/secure environment) The duty to make this happen falls on local authority that, for example would have street/security lighting and the installation of CCTV as a condition of the planning application or they could create a local policy that says new housing schemes will only receive planning approval if there is security lighting fitted as standard.