Journal Article

Social Care and the Modern Citizen: Client, Consumer, Service User, Manager and Entrepreneur

Peter Scourfield

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 37, issue 1, pages 107-122
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Social Care and the Modern Citizen: Client, Consumer, Service User, Manager and Entrepreneur

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Since coming to power, New Labour has embarked on a programme of modernization. Few areas of state activity have been more visibly subjected to New Labour’s modernization agenda than the personal social services. Local authority social services departments have largely ceased to exist as separate organizational entities. However, modernization has also required that the relationship between state and citizen be reconstructed. This is evident in New Labour’s vision for adult social care which envisages a move towards individual budgets. The individualizing nature of such schemes may be thought hard to reconcile with the discourse of integration and partnership prominent elsewhere. However, a key linking concept is that of ‘person-centredness’. It is often assumed that this simply means that public services become more flexible to meet the needs of ‘the person’. This paper uses the example of direct payments to demonstrate how modernization also requires flexibility of ‘the person’. It would appear that inherent in New Labour’s project of modernization is the assumption that the modern citizen should be both managerial and entrepreneurial. What were once public responsibilities are being transferred to the individual. The implications for the users of adult social care are discussed.

Keywords: modernization; adult social care; direct payments

Journal Article.  7226 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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