Modernising Social Services: Evidence from the Frontline

Report into the implementation of modernisation of social services, with evidence drawn from a major survey of social workers in a large case study authority.

Social services are some of the most vital local public services, acting as both a social safety net to catch those who become excluded from a society and a system of vital support for children, families, adults with emotional or learning difficulties and older people no longer able to maintain their independence without external help. The quality of our social services are a key barometer of how caring and inclusive our society is.

Social services, like all aspects of the public sector have had to cope with two decades of under-funding and almost constant incremental reform. They are now subject to what the government calls 'modernisation'.

If the government is to be believed, modernisation drives at service improvement, tailoring services to meet the needs of users and not those providing them, and lies at the heart of creating a 21st Century welfare state. However, there are concerns that this agenda ignores the genuine concerns of staff about the implications of modernisation on service quality and that it is in reality a thin veil for a continuing drive for cost cutting and privatisation.

This report examines the implementation of the government's modernisation agenda for public sector reform. It gives a voice to social care professionals at the frontline of service delivery and therefore also modernisation. It gives their impressions of how the key aspects of the government's agenda are being implemented on the ground and offers answers to the following question:

Does the implementation of the modernisation agenda for social services improve service delivery in the creation of a responsive and flexible 21st Century welfare state or does it undermine service quality, dismantle the welfare state and replace it with corporate welfare?


  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • The Government's Modernisation Agenda
  • Evidence from a Major County Authority
  • The Impact of the Modernisation Agenda on Care Workers
  • An Alternative Agenda for Modernisation
  • Conclusions
Modernising Social Services


European Services Strategy Unit, Duagh, Camp, Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland.
Copyright © 1998-2017 European Services Strategy Unit

This document was created by Alex Nunn on 2004-10-14 11:15:04.
This document was last modified by Dexter Whitfield on 2015-09-22 19:02:42.
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