Journal Article

Performance Measurement in Adult Social Care: Looking Backwards and Forwards

Paul Clarkson

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 1, pages 170-187
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online June 2008 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcn096
Performance Measurement in Adult Social Care: Looking Backwards and Forwards

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Approaches arising from the publication of performance data for adult social care in the UK nationally have led to unintended and often perverse consequences. A case is made in this paper for examining locally-based models, which offer substantial benefits to both managers and practitioners, and by extension, service users. Whilst there is no shortage of statements outlining the intentions behind monitoring performance in this setting, actual evidence as to its benefits is lacking. Different approaches to performance measurement (both in the UK and elsewhere) and their relevance to recent debate, particularly that which advocates the wholesale abandoning of performance monitoring, are examined. This review of existing evidence, as opposed to rhetoric, suggests that a different approach, involving the local collection and interpretation of data, offers an opportunity for workers to foster a culture of enquiry. Such a change in emphasis may require the implementation of a different set of incentives to those previously in operation.

Keywords: Community care; management; audit

Journal Article.  6824 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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