The West Midlands Social Work Action Network have produced a useful aid to radical social work practice entitled 'Investigating cuts in children’s social care: an activists toolkit.'
As councils set their budgets for 2013-14 and impose yet further cuts to essential services, this timely guide provides the tools for activists to investigate cuts to children’s social care services. Produced by activists involved in the West Midlands Social Work Action Network, it draws on experience of researching and fighting cuts.
The Toolkit identifies a wide range of sources of key information and suggests information that can be acquired by FOI requests. It uses Birmingham City Council as an example and focuses on Looked after Children services to illustrate the types of information that should be available in all Local Authorities and service areas.
Social care services are being changed in the way they are being provided at the same time as budgets are being cut. Additionally there is growing need for services affected by demographic trends and the social impact of austerity policies. This context makes it more challenging to understand and unravel the impact of cuts on service users in the present and in the future.
This toolkit starts with how councils set their budgets and looks at the governance arrangements of local authorities together with wider commissioning arrangements for services. Subsequent sections look at the statutory framework of services and the changing needs of the population requiring a service. It suggests ways to utilise inspection, audit and performance information.
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