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Understanding the personalisation narrative

Personalisation - the idea that public services should be tailored to the individual, with budgets devolved to the service user or frontline staff - is increasingly seen as the future of the welfare state. This book focuses on how personalisation evolved as a policy narrative and has mobilised such wide-ranging political support. It will be a valuable resource for undergraduate and postgraduate students in public policy and social policy and for researchers and practitioners working in related fields.

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This unique book brings together, for the first time, advocates and critics of the personalisation agenda in English social care services to debate key issues relating to personalisation.

Perspectives from service users, practitioners, academics and policy commentators come together to give an account of the practicalities and controversies associated with the implementation of personalised approaches. The conclusion examines how to make sense of the divergent accounts presented, asking if there is a value-based approach to person-centred care that all sides share.

Written in a lively and accessible way, practitioners, students, policy makers and academics in health and social care, social work, public policy and social policy will appreciate the interplay of rival arguments and the way that ambiguities in the care debate play out as policy ideas take programmatic form.

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The book contains invaluable research, including discussions on modern slavery, childcare and social justice and welfare chauvinism, as well as a chapter centred on the Grenfell Tower fire. Bringing together the insights of a diverse group of experts in social policy, this book examines critical debates in the field in order to offer an informed review of the best in social policy scholarship over the past year. Published in association with the SPA, the volume will be of interest to students and academics in social policy, social welfare and related disciplines.

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Drawing together a mix of internationally renowned contributors, Social Policy Review 28 provides an up-to-date and diverse review of the best in social policy scholarship. This book contains three parts. The first part focuses on the state of affairs in each of the pillars of the welfare state. It assesses to what extent the traditional ‘evil giants’ have been defeated, which new problems and unintended consequences have emerged and how this affects the policies. The focus on four policy areas are: pension policies, health care, income benefits and housing. The second part draws together a selection of papers from the Social Policy Association’s Annual Conference. The social policy implications of the outcome of the 2015 UK General Election was a major issue facing delegates. Indeed, the final day of the conference coincided with the new government’s first budget, during which details of the £12 billion of ‘welfare’ cuts promised during the election campaign were outlined. The four chapters in Section Two offer insights into what this agenda might hold and how scholars might best interrogate it. The third part explores the shift to individualised funding in different international settings, and also explores the validity of the underlying assumptions, which have driven the shift towards greater use of individualised funding. This part also offers a range of empirical lenses through which to examine these debates. Together these chapters help to deepen an understanding of individualised approaches within social policy.

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This edition presents an up-to-date and diverse review of the best in social policy scholarship over the past 12 months, from a group of internationally renowned authors. The collection offers a comprehensive discussion of some of the most challenging issues facing social policy today, including an examination of Brexit, the Trump presidency, ‘post-truth’, the prison system, migration, the lived experiences of food bank users, health tourism as an alleged benefit fraud, and the future of welfare benefits. Published in association with the SPA, the volume will be valuable to academics and students within social policy, social welfare and related disciplines.

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This chapter examines how policies transfer from one government department or state to another, exploring how far such moves are evidence-driven and what the mechanisms and channels of transfer are likely to be. Within health and social care, there are a number of initiatives that have been lent or borrowed — some internationally, some between departments. These include policies such as the Patient’s Charter, expert patient programmes and individual budgets. An extensive literature has grown up around the concept of policy transfer to explain how transfers such as these occur, offering possible explanations about the how, why and when of transfer. However, this approach relies on a systematic account of the transfer process that has come under increasing attack. As a result, the concept of translation has developed as an alternative approach to explain why and how policies migrate from one setting to another. The chapter considers these two approaches in some depth, and then applies their insights to a case study of personal budgets in social care.

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This chapter explores New Labour’s approach to choice at each of Hall’s three levels, and considers how 6 and Peck’s themes of modernisation are manifest in detailed policy settings. It also examines changes over Blair’s two-and-a-half terms as Prime Minister and between different public services. The chapter highlights the government’s growing fascination with choice, and the tendency to offer distinctive models of choice to different welfare users. It concludes by looking at how political leaders after Blair are interpreting and applying choice in public services, highlighting the narrowness of mainstream party agendas, which offer users ‘no choice but to choose’.

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To disaggregate the ‘differentiated consumer’ of public services, it is important to consider how policy actors in central and local government talk about those who use key services: health, education, welfare, transport, and policing. This chapter gives an interpretative account of public services in the UK, exploring how different words and narratives are used in government texts, and the extent to which these vary between services and levels of government. Through measuring the frequency with which certain keywords appear, it is possible to assess the emphasis that policy makers place on certain identities – such as citizen, taxpayer, and customer – and to trace the importance of particular narratives – such as standardisation and differentiation.

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This chapter considers the framing of staff in the personalisation narrative, examining two key themes. The first is that professional expertise must be challenged, and claims to privileged status resisted, to ensure that the promise of user empowerment is not subverted. The second is that personalisation requires close collaboration between front-line staff and users based on co-production principles. The chapter explores the complexities of the staff–user interface within which these dual accounts play out, recognising the key role played by staff not usually encompassed by the term ‘professional’ (care staff, personal assistants) and the emergence of new roles (brokers, navigators). It considers how trade-offs between staff and user interests are framed and negotiated in local settings.

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