Cunningham, Ian and Nickson, Dennis (2010) Personalisation and its implications for work and employment in the voluntary sector. [Report]
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This report assesses the impact of personalisation on social care, particularly focussing on implications for the workforce. Personalisation is often presented as being transformative in the manner in which it empowers both people who use services and employees. The report considers the latter aspect in particular by assessing some of the workforce implications of personalisation. It reports research drawn from policymakers and three voluntary organisations, with interviews with managers, employees and people who use services. The main findings from the research are: Policymakers were enthusiastic about the potential benefits of personalisation with regard to the opportunities for the independence of people who receive services and enhancement of workforce skills. Policymakers feared the impact of public spending cuts and recognised the cultural and operational barriers within local authorities to the implementation of personalisation. Policymakers were enthusiastic about the role of the voluntary sector and its workforce in terms of its contribution to delivering personalised services, whilst recognising concerns about skills gaps among employees and the impact of deteriorating terms and conditions of employment on worker morale. Management in the three organisations largely embraced the principles of personalisation, whilst also recognising the pressure from local authorities to use the personalisation agenda to cut costs. Employees in the main understood the principles of personalisation but revealed limited awareness of the implications for the changes in service budgets. Organisations were changing their approach to staff recruitment in order to develop a better fit between the interests of people receiving services and employees delivering them. Management anticipated significant changes to the working hours of employees providing personalised services, which was met with a degree of anxiety among some employees. Management recognised the need to address skills gaps among employees in areas such as risk enablement, decision-making and community connecting. Employees generally welcomed the potential enhancement of their skills through personalisation. Job security concerns were apparent among the majority of front-line employees as a consequence of personalisation. Organisations were balancing the move towards risk enablement and cutting costs with the need to protect service user and worker health and safety, particularly in relation to managing challenging behavior. Personalisation brings with it the potential to fragment pay and conditions away from collective terms towards linking them more closely to the value of individual service budgets. People who receive services revealed limited awareness of changes to service budgets, their choices over the service provider, choices over who provides their services and there was limited evidence of empowerment and greater choice.
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