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Key issues in social policy The impact of user involvement strategies in welfare Recently serious concerns have been raised with regard to a range of issues associated with the role and impact of user involvement in shaping public policies and welfare in general…
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Download file to see previous pages This paper on social policy and the impact of user involvement strategies in public welfare aims to discuss the critical issues associated with service user involvement; the impact and role in formation of policies; the various challenges faced; the various benefits of such an involvement to the society at large; its impact on bringing about a positive change; and theoretical perspectives. Introduction: The positive impact of contribution of service users on the development, establishment and planning of social care policies are widely being recognized and hence accommodated by the government in UK, in recent times. The issue of social policy has been historically viewed and described as a state responsibility whereby the state is involved in developing and delivering welfare programs. With the introduction of marketization, a slight change in attitudes towards such policies was observed, whereby the focus was shifted from the state to the consumers, who were considered and attributed a special status and freedom to participate in development of a range of services accessed by them. The involvement of service users signifies and challenges the fundamental premise of social policies and raises various critical issues with regard to the nature, citizen participation, and long term impact of the same (Davies, 2000; Connor, Simpson, 2011). Table 1: Stakeholder perspectives on objectives, limits and goals of user involvement Such a change in attitudes towards social policy and the user involvement in the same was brought about by a simultaneous change in the economic, social and political spheres, a change in demographics which eventually led to the rise in decentralization, privatization, and globalization. Thus the conventional approaches to service delivery were transformed drastically to include public opinions and voice in the framing of policies that affect them. Current debates surrounding user involvement in welfare: The debate on user involvement strategies in welfare is mainly surrounded around five key issues which include - welfarism, professionalism, consumerism, managerialism and participationsim. Welfarism: Traditionally, the responsibility of developing social welfare policies was borne by the state, whereby strategies to provide welfare to the people included (but not limited to) offering relief funds to the poor and needy; providing benefits to the citizens, and enabling them to lead respectable and dignified lives (Dean, 2003). However, the changes in the external environment brought about by the change in demographics, technology, liberal trade policies etc., a simultaneous change in welfare policies was observed. The modern and evolved welfare state incorporated changes in the policy, although the model was built on the classical model of administration whereby the social welfare policies were established by the elected bodies and decision making was centered on the bureaucrats (Jensen, Pfau-Effinger, 2005; Dean, 2003). There was hardly any room for user involvement and little or no freedom of equal treatment. Such a model faced increased criticism from the public, which then paved way for including user contribution in policy matters and the policies were now increasingly centered considering public welfare ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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