Problematising ‘Fused Principles’ in Discourses of Preventative Social Care: Interpreting the Implementation of National Social Services Legislation in Wales, UK

Simon Read*, Fiona Verity, Mark Llewellyn, Sion Tetlow, Jonathan Richards

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Prevention is a core principle in social care legislation across the UK. However, history shows great variability in how a preventative social care agenda is conceptualised and implemented. We report findings from an independent evaluation of the implementation of the ‘2014 Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act’ incorporating a document analysis of reports and plans from Wales’ twenty-two local authorities (LAs) and eighty-eight qualitative interviews from social services strategic leaders and operational managers within four Welsh LAs. Analysis highlighted multiple interpretations of national policy, with notable overlapping agendas. In Gramscian terms, there is a constant process of negotiating prevention values and agendas, with consequences for whose interests are served. This was apparent through drives towards cost-saving, financial sustainability and reduced service demand operating alongside values-based principles rooted in well-being and mutualism. Following Kenny’s work in community development, we argue a ‘fusing’ of principles whilst espousing benefits for service users, potentially blurs the aims of the legislation, with implications for practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbcad125
Pages (from-to)2331-2351
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Volume53
Issue number4
Early online date27 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Care economics
  • financial austerity
  • fused discourses
  • prevention
  • social care
  • social policy

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