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Best Value Social Services - a handbook

     published by Social Services Strategic Planning ISBN 0 9533002 1 8 20,000 words. £9.00

The Government is driving forward the modernisation of local government under the twin banners "best value" and "democratic renewal". Social services cannot, and should not, stand back from the consequences. They cannot because the Government has made it clear that it will involve all services; they should not because recalcitrant services will become increasingly disadvantaged, politically and financially, if they try to do so.

This handbook offers a range of practical tools, and illustrations from experience and research with which to review services. "Democratic renewal" and "best value", as described in the Government's consultation papers, are inseparable. Efficiency, effectiveness, public consultation and consumer partnership are interactive and inter-dependent.

The Government describes the parameters of best value as economy, efficiency, effectiveness and quality but these things have to be tackled as assessable components. This handbook has chapters on:-

  • improving quality. The value of the service to those who receive it. The professional and policy standards by which it judged.
  • optimising scale. The range and number of service components you need to meet your objectives.
  • reducing cost. Achieving the lowest cost possible without adversely affecting either scale or quality.

In order to be able to change any of those components you need to understand the significance of people and information. So there are chapters on:-

  • people. The roles they play in relation to best value depending on whether they are clients, staff, members, carers or staff in other agencies.
  • information. How it facilitates or inhibits the effective execution of the rôles people need to play.

Best Value Social Services has something for everyone with an interest in influencing the way social services develop in the future. DipSW students, social workers, middle and senior managers in social services, chief executives and Members will all find food for thought and action. The social services are the least "stand alone" of all; so colleagues in the voluntary and independent sectors and in related services inside and outside local government will find some useful linking ideas here too.

Place an order for this book on this website (includes £1.50 pp)