The Politics of Care
This chapter aims to provide a summary and critical commentary of reforms to the system of adult social care in England. The drivers of reforms, economic and demographic pressures, are classically 'wicked' in the way that they interface, are non-linear and overlap. The chapter focuses on the period since 2010, which saw a labour government replaced by a conservative-liberal democrat coalition and later replaced by a conservative government in 2015. It provides reference to longer-term reforms and changes, particularly where they reflect ambitions that cross party-political lines. The chapter considers concerns or challenges that result from these reforms from the points of view of both users of care services and professionals involved in their delivery. It discusses the suitability of the ethic of care as a response to the challenges raised, paying close attention to the quality and effectiveness of caring relationships.