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Title: Social care, contracts and voluntary sector providers
Author: Todd, Joseph Malcolm
ISNI:       0000 0001 3534 2594
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis concerns the impact of purchase of service contracts on voluntary sector providers of social care. Voluntary agencies in Britain have traditionally received annual grant-aid from local authority social services departments in acknowledgement of the many different care and support services they have provided to the community. However, following the reorganisation of the personal social services in the early 1990s (National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990), this funding mechanism shifted increasingly towards a tighter, contractual, relationship in which expectations about service levels, monitoring arrangements, quality and costs were made explicit and formally agreed. This changes the way in which voluntary sector providers have to work, their relationship with statutory sector agencies and their interface with the wider community. Whilst interest in social care contracting is growing, policy analysts have done little to qualitatively study the contracting process from the voluntary sector perspective. This study aims to bridge this gap. It offers a close examination of twenty-three voluntary sector agencies in four local authorities in England. It sheds light on the impact of replacing grant-aid with contractual income, contributes to the understanding of how voluntary sector providers of social care services experience the contracting process and explores how the local authority-voluntary sector interface is developing. Understanding the voluntary sector perspective on social care contracting can assist statutory sector purchasers to develop systems that best meet both sectors' needs. Prominent amongst the findings are the following: (1) despite the introduction of a 'quasi-market' in social care there was little evidence of a competitive market for contracts between voluntary sector providers; (2) local authorities were inclined to offer service agreements to recognised and trusted voluntary sector providers; (3) the language and legal status of social care contracting is regarded as ambiguous by voluntary managers - different local authorities have adopted distinct language and definitions; (4) the notion that voluntary providers are the preferred providers of local authorities was questioned by a number of statutory sector respondents - there was evidence that statutory sector purchasers were willing to make use of the for profit sector for service provision; (5) whilst some voluntary providers had been able to negotiate successful contracts with purchasers many commented on the conflictual nature of this process; (6) the monitoring of contracts is very mixed and there were concerns over the robustness of local authorities in collecting relevant data.
Supervisor: Walker, Carol ; Furbey, Rob ; Sykes, Robert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Local authorities