In the early 1980s in Britain the organisation of the personal social services had come under increasingly critical scrutiny. The establishment of large social services departments following re-organisation in the early 1970s had led, some argued, to the emergence of services which all too often were over-centralised, fragmented and crisis-oriented in their approach.
In attempts to break out of this reactive system and to fashion services which were more coherent and preventive, a growing number of field teams within the departments had begun to adopt community-oriented patterns of organisation. Originally published in 1984, this book based on an eighteen-month study of the area team at Normanton (Wakefield MDC), which incorporated social workers, ancillaries, and domiciliary staff in neighbourhood sub-teams, offered the first systematic account of the operation of this new approach. The authors examine how referrals and long-term work are handled, describe the management of the team, and consider the views of workers, users and the staff of other agencies. While giving a clear picture of the difficulties faced in adopting a community-centred approach the book provides convincing evidence of its potential to create more responsive and effective services based on better knowledge of the population served, easier access to the team, broader staff roles, and the active encouragement of local community initiatives.
The most comprehensive account of an area team so far published, this book would be essential reading for all those concerned to improve the performance of the personal social services at the time. It would be of particular importance to councillors, managers and planners, to social workers and other field staff in social services departments, and to teachers and students of social work.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgements. Part 1: Context 1. Introduction 2. The Setting and the Experiment 3. The Patch Teams in Action Part 2: The Team at Work 4. Referrals 5. Long-Term Work 6. Contacts and Liaison 7. The Outer Team: Home Helps and Wardens 8. Management and Development Part 3: Perceptions of the Team 9. The Worker’s View 10. The User’s View 11. The Outside View 12. Conclusions. References. Appendix: Tables. Index.
Roger Hadley, Morag McGrath