Purpose Of The Structure Of The Services Social Work Essay
In this assignment, I will explain the purpose of the structure of Social Services and explain the effect of the management structure on these services. I will also look at the different services available from the main sectors explain the functioning of one Social Work setting as well as analyse the Impact of Social Work on a particular client or group.
I will explain the purpose of the structure of Social Services
At the start of the twentieth century in the United Kingdom, money, encouragement and advice were given to families in need through the Charity Organisation Society. Magistrates called upon the help of police court missionaries to help offenders in trouble and voluntary organisations made it their business to help orphans, pregnant girls and destitute women.
The origins of social work go back to the nineteenth century. The services that were provided only concerned the “poor” and workhouses were the only provision of welfare ran by the government for the destitute under the Poor Law Act 1834. Help was also given in the form of wealthy ladies visiting the poor to offer services that were given in a very condescending and patronising way. Another important development came about in the twentieth century when hospitals started employing “almoners” (Social Workers), whose initial role was to assess whether patients needed or deserved free treatment. The extent of their roles was soon widened and the Institute of Almoners was set up in 1920 which provided training courses.
At the start of the welfare state, local authorities started providing welfare services for some groups of people. The National Health Service Act 1946 made local authorities responsible for providing Maternity and Baby Welfare, providing after care for the mentally ill as well as home services for the elderly and some other groups of people. The Children’s Department was set up in 1948 to provide services to children deprived from a normal home life. The National Assistance Act 1948 required that local authorities to provide accommodation and other services to elderly and handicapped people as well as homeless families.
These divided services and responsibilities were not organised in a logical way and it often caused confusion over responsibility of meeting the needs of those involved. The government then set up the Seebohm Committee to look into the social services provided by local authorities. The committee then published a report in 1968 recommending that a unified and family orientated service be established. In the report, it was in support of “a new local authority department, providing a community based and family orientated service, which will be available to all. This new department will, we believe, will reach far beyond the discovery and rescue of social causalities; it will enable the greatest number of individuals to act reciprocally giving and receiving service for the well-being of the whole community.”
Following the report of 1968, the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 came into place and it incorporated the proposals of the Seebohm Committee. Under the act of 1970, it required local authorities to appoint a Director of Social Services and set up Social Services Committees. Under the new Social Services departments, they would be responsible for all sections of welfare provision in the community. This was the beginning of generic social work, whereby social workers dealt with a wider range of people and problems, instead of specialising in a particular area such as mentally ill and deprived children. The Central Council of Education and Training in Social Work (CCETSW) then became responsible for the provision of training for the new generic Social Workers in 1971.
explain the effect of the management structure on these services and the Different Services Available from the Main Sectors
The overall control of social care is provided under local authorities, through a social care / health and social care budget. Information from Cerebra (online) states that; at the top of the organisation, there is an Area Director of Social Services and under this are Area Managers. One of these managers will have responsibility for ‘additional needs’, with a team for children. Increasingly, all children’s services are being brought together. Under this scheme, there is a Chief Executive (Director of Children’s Services), which includes social care services, education, youth offending, services for transition to adulthood (e.g. the Connexions service), and Sure Start services for young children, each section having its own director / manager. In some areas, there are Keyworkers to facilitate access to the different services for families with disabled children. A Keyworker is usually one of the professionals who is involved with the family anyway, who may be working in any of the services including Health. They should help to reduce the work that parents often have to do to locate services, make communications smoother, and make the system work better for the child. Social Services also provide adult services, and carry out carers’ assessments for parents and others involved with the care of a ‘child in need’ (because of disability or some other reason). This can be done at the same time as a community care assessment for the child and siblings, leading to access to services such as respite breaks / carers / helpers and counselling (or Direct Payments for these). In addition they run local Child Protection Registers for children whose vulnerability may lead to a need for alternative care. This also involves assessments and meetings.
The organisational structure within the social services hierarchy authority structure has changed over the past few years to enable new roles which had been made compulsory by a new legislation. Due to this
change, many departments have had to change their staffing structure in order to suit the new functions. It now means that there is more emphasis on for the social services acquiring the care,
alternatively to the providers of the care. This new change will mean that the social services can now assess the need for care. To achieve this, the social services divide into different groups to provide for
specific groups, such as elderly, children and families etc. This has now meant that a clear division between the providers and purchases of care has been created, and because of this social services have been able to become more efficient by the splitting into the various groups to provide for them.
Sourced from Mastering Social Welfare (Pat Young), Social workers covers a diverse area of work that mostly concentrates on problems with the elderly, handicapped, mentally ill, low income, juvenile courts and family relationships; particularly with children. With the different client groups there are statutory responsibilities of the social services organisations concerned. For example,
they are obligated to intervene when children are concerned, as they may be in trouble with the police or for children whose parents are thought to be unable to provide inadequate care. In these instances, social services would provide residential accommodation, organise foster parents and provide supervision in the home for children living with their parents.
The structure of service provision varies with government structure.
One being a Comprehensive field coverage, This is the level of policy-making and planning, creating a framework of services to meet a range of needs. This level is sometimes missing where coverage is done through programmes and ad hoc services rather than by government.
Another being a Comprehensive service provision which is the organisation and direction of a service or programme, like a housing department or social services department.
A third being Systematic service provision , where it is responsible for performing particular functions within a service, such as in schools, residential care homes or the units within a hospital.
A fourth provision deals with problems as situation, which is generally the level at which professionals such as Doctors, social workers, health visitors, area housing managers and police officers work .
Dealing with problems as demands. This is a reactive approach, where service is provided in response to a specific demand; the response made is prescribed for the person who makes it. Receptionists or social security clerical officers are examples. 
Explain The Functioning of One Social Work Setting
Analyse the Impact of Social Work on a Particular Client or Group
Baer, B. and Frederico, R. (2008). DEFINITION OF SOCIAL WORK (online). Available from:
http://www.wright.edu/cola/Dept/social_work/sw_definition.htm > (accessed 27 December 2010)
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