Developments in Services for Elderly People: Managing the Changes
The history of care services for older people since the creation of generic Social Services Departments (SSDs) in the early 1970s provides a fascinating study of the development of social policy and practice. This chapter aims to illustrate these developments by focusing on the provision of services to older people in one particular SSD. From the mid-1970s to 1992, the SSD was organised into 13 area offices each having responsibility for fieldwork and domiciliary services. The authority’s homes for elderly people were frequently attractive old houses where adaptation work was prohibitively expensive. Staffing costs and overall unit costs were high because of the existing managerial structures and conditions of service. Residential service user choice was initially limited by the comparatively small role in residential care taken by the independent sector. This situation changed rapidly from the mid-1980s as the private sector saw the commercial opportunities of providing services in this area and entered the newly constituted market for care services.