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Increasing choice and control for older and disabled people: A critical review of new developments in England

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Publication details

JournalSocial Policy & Administration
DatePublished - Oct 2008
Issue number5
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)451-469
Original languageEnglish


This paper critically examines new policies currently being implemented in England aimed at increasing the choice and control that disabled and older people can exercise over the social care support and services they receive. The development of these policies, and their elaboration in three policy documents published during 2005, are summarized. The paper then discusses two issues underpinning these proposals: the role of quasi-markets within publicly funded social care services; and the political and policy discourses of consumerism and choice within the welfare state. Despite powerful critiques of welfare consumerism, the paper argues that there are nevertheless very important reasons for taking choice seriously when considering how best to organize and deliver support and other services for disabled and older people. A policy discourse on consumerism, however, combined with the use of market mechanisms for implementing this, may be highly problematic as the means of creating opportunities for increased choice and, on its own, risks introducing new forms of disadvantage and social exclusion.

    Research areas

  • welfare consumerism, welfare markets, choice and control, SOCIAL CARE, OUTCOMES, HEALTH, NEEDS, AGE


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